West Seattle, Washington
By the time tonight’s Not-So-Silent Night Parade headed out from the Highland Park Corner Store lot, the crowd was going on 100 of all ages, carrying lanterns, lights, bells, drums, and noisemakers. Here’s how it looked and sounded:
Pre-pandemic, the parade was a New Year’s Eve tradition, a spirited walk through several blocks of Highland Park to ring out (and drum out, etc.) the old year and welcome the new one. Since the last one, the parade-presenting Highland Park Improvement Club has been through something else – the fire that gutted their building – but they’ve continued serving as the heartbeat of the community anyway, and that’s why the parade went on.
Along the way, as well as making noise and music – we spotted a trombonist in the crowd – paraders yelled “Happy New Year!” at people who came outside to wave and watch.
The parade ended at Riverview Playfield, where all gathered in a circle to watch another part of the tradition:
As one person called out to the circle just before that, “This is to celebrate the fact that we’re all still here” as another year begins.
Several readers have asked about the dead sea lion most recently washed up at Lowman Beach. It’s been marked with green paint (above is our cropped version of a photo sent by Michael), which means wildlife responders are aware of it. David Hutchinson of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network confirms their first responders marked the carcass “and have been keeping track of its location.” They’ve been talking with Seattle Parks but: “The large number of washed-up logs have complicated any plans for removal.”
As for whether its cause of death has been investigated, Casey Mclean, executive director of SR3, responded: “The animal was externally examined when it was first reported … Due to the decomposition of the animal, a necropsy (animal autopsy) was not performed; there were also disposal logistics to consider had we decided to necropsy it on a public beach. This means that we do not know the cause of death but the animal did appear to be a healthy body weight. There are a number of things that could be the cause of death, from gunshot to killer-whale attack to some sort of illness or disease, however, without doing a thorough internal exam we cannot rule anything out.” Mclean adds this reminder: “Always report marine mammals to Seal Sitters, dead or alive, they all have something to teach us about the health of our marine waters and Seal Sitters will investigate each report.” But, she adds, you need to be aware that “the marine mammal stranding network is not responsible for disposal of dead marine mammals and often we do not have the funding to make the disposal of large animals happen. Parks may or may not have the resources and choose to remove the animal – it is logistically challenging and expensive.” She has a final note: “Keep pets on a leash since our furry friends will smell and find the carcass long before you do!” (Seal Sitters’ hotline is 206-905-SEAL.)
As each year ends, we publish one look back – the 10 WSB stories that drew the most comments. That doesn’t mean they were the most-read stories, or the most-important stories, but it’s objectively quantifiable they were the most-discussed. So, with hours left in the year, here’s the 2022 countdown:
#10 – PEGASUS PIZZA EVICTED
December 2, 2022 – 133 comments
With a King County Sheriff’s Office-posted notice on the door, this longtime restaurant was suddenly shut down. Court files revealed the case had been in the works since July. The signage is gone, the space vacant, but we may not have heard the last of the case – new court documents indicate the owners plan to appeal.
#9 – WEST 5 ANNOUNCES CLOSURE
January 31, 2022 – 134 comments
This longtime restaurant/bar closed toward the start of the year, explaining, “The uncomplicated story is, we lost our lease …” Another restaurant/bar, Camp West, opened in the space in November.
#8 – HUGE WATER-MAIN BREAK
August 15, 2022 – 152 comments
A massive water-main break near Longfellow Creek interrupted service to thousands of customers. Service was restored but repairs aren’t complete yet and could stretch into February. As for what caused the break, Seattle Public Utilities told WSB last month that no one cause had been pinpointed but: “It is possible vibration caused by the pile work being done on the Longfellow [drainage] project could have contributed to the break,”
#7 – MAN SHOT AT 28TH/ANDOVER
May 13, 2022 – 155 comments
The mid-afternoon shooting generated a new round of discussion about the longrunning RV encampment in the area, where the victim – who survived – was reported to be a resident.
#6 – WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE REOPENS
September 17, 2022 – 162 comments
After two and a half years, the stabilized/repaired high bridge reopened to traffic just after 9 pm on a Saturday night. But not all the traffic has returned – as of last check, volumes were still estimated around two-thirds of what they had been pre-closure.
#5 – STATE FERRY CATHLAMET CRASHES AT FAUNTLEROY
July 28, 2022 – 181 comments
No deaths or serious injuries, but a state ferry sustained major damage when it hit an offshore structure known as a dolphin at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. The captain resigned shortly thereafter. The formal report on the crash’s cause has yet to be made public; the Cathlamet has yet to return to service.
#4 – CITY SWEEPS SW ANDOVER RV ENCAMPMENT
June 16, 2022 – 191 comments
After six years of RVs lining the north side of SW Andover between 26th and 28th, the city cleared out the vehicles and their residents. Neighboring businesses quickly installed “eco-blocks” to prevent parking on that side of the street. Before long, those were removed and replaced with a bicycle lane.
#3 – GONDOLA SUPPORTERS RESPOND TO SOUND TRANSIT ‘FEASIBILITY REPORT’
April 18, 2022 – 192 comments
In April, Sound Transit released its “feasibility report” on the West Seattle SkyLink gondola counterproposal, basically dismissing it. A week and a half later, SkyLink supporters went public with their response. They said the gondola idea needs a better review. ST said a board member would have to propose that – and to date, none have.’
#2 – TWO PEOPLE SHOT AT ALKI
October 31, 2022 – 202 comments
Two people out for a walk at the beach were shot, possibly a case of drive-by shooters aiming for someone else, and to date no arrests have been reported.
#1 – WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE EXPECTED TO REOPEN IN SEPTEMBER
June 9, 2022 – 262 comments
Months of wondering “will the bridge really reopen this year?” finally ended with a collective sigh of relief (and some skepticism) when the city zeroed in on an expected opening timeframe.
PREVIOUS YEARS: Here are our previous most-commented-stories lists, going back to 2011:
(‘Live’ image from SDOT traffic camera)
The West Seattle low bridge is now in its ninth day of closure to street and path traffic, with no estimate yet on when it will be repaired and reopened. We continue to ask SDOT for updates; here’s what spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB:
Crews have been in the bridge every day since the recent incident, and will continue to work on repairs over the weekend. We are actively repairing what we can now, as we also continue to work to understand the full scope and cause of the damage and to estimate the timeline to complete repairs. At 3 a.m. this morning, electricians completed repairs to a flooded underground power conduit, replacing 500 feet of damaged power lines. We are continuing to assemble the equipment necessary to overhaul the damaged hydraulic cylinder that lifts the moveable bridge.
These are some of the other repairs that we have been working on over the past week:
-Reprogramming electrical components and analyzing the machine programming
-Conducting comprehensive inspections on all hydraulic bridge components
-Building and assembling the equipment necessary to move the 15,000-pound cylinder
-Working with our contractors and suppliers to order necessary parts and equipment
We asked if Kraemer North America, which had the contract for previously planned low-bridge work as well as the high-bridge repairs, will have this work added onto their contract. Here’s Bergerson’s reply to that:
We already had planned to overhaul the broken hydraulic pump in 2023 as part of our comprehensive repair project. Several contractors are involved with different aspects of our comprehensive rehabilitation project. Kraemer was responsible for the already-completed structural strengthening work (carbon fiber wrapping and epoxy injections), not for the hydraulic cylinder rehabilitation. SDOT has blanket contracts for certain specialized services as needed, including a contract with GCC for hydraulic system work. We have been working with these companies for the past several months, which enabled us to begin working with them to create a response plan almost immediately after the problem occurred.
Last but not least, our latest round of questions included the concerns commenters raised about SDOT’s suggested bicycle detour, and why a shuttle hadn’t been quickly implemented as it was during the 2018 repair closure:
In addition to the bridge engineers and technical experts working to repair the Spokane St Swing bridge, we also have a team working to address further the impact the closure has on people who bike, walk and roll.
We are working on possible measures to make the bike detour route as intuitive and comfortable as possible. Because the bridge closure could last a minimum of two weeks, we have placed “no parking” signs along sections of First Ave S in case the space is needed to improve the bike detour route. Our approach is to move sequentially and intentionally while we balance a large number of demands. We’ll know more when the repair plan and schedule are available.
Our bike team consists of professional transportation planners with experience planning, designing, and building bike lanes throughout Seattle and are also bike riders. While the current route is not an all-ages and abilities, it is an acceptable short-term detour. We have spoken to representatives from bicycle advocacy groups and will continue to do so as part of our ongoing commitment to open communication and transparency during this time.
We have been actively looking into the feasibility of other ideas like the shuttle you mentioned and working with King County Metro to understand options to make transit and the water taxi an even easier choice for people.
Three more West Seattle Crime Watch reports:
GUN POINTED FROM PASSING CAR: Just sent by Tony:
I was walking the dog at the corner of Glenn Way and 46th Ave SW at 11.30 am. Two vehicles – a black sedan and a sliver sedan – drove by; the person in the silver sedan pointed his gun at me. The silver sedan had orange plastic covering the rear passenger window. Minutes later I saw them speeding up Genesee and headed north on 51st. I have the sense they were looking for someone. I called 911 immediately. If anyone sees the vehicles, call 911 right away.
Police radio indicates the vehicles in question are possibly both Hyundais and were subsequently seen in the Morgan Junction area. (12:32 PM UPDATE: Police have confirmed both are stolen cars.)
JUNCTION TRUE VALUE BREAK-IN: The latest business hit with a broken-door break-in is Junction True Value.
We went over to the store after a reader tip. Management told us this happened early today; someone smashed the glass with a piece of concrete. So far, all they’ve confirmed missing is some of the candy kept near the door.
STOLEN FORD PICKUP: Sent by Rosa:
Firefighter husband’s truck was stolen last night. 2006 Ford F-250 Super Duty, Super Cab (4 doors), short bed, dark green and brown, license plate on front dash, one on the back of truck, C89366U, firefighter stickers on rear window. Incident number 22-348635.
The pickup was taken near Myrtle Reservoir Park. (SUNDAY UPDATE: It’s been found.)
New year, new sport! Here’s an invitation for younger West Seattleites, from the Southwest Lacrosse Club:
Are you looking for a fun and fast-paced team sport for your K-8th grader? Registration is currently open for the 2023 Seattle Metro Youth Lacrosse Season.
Founded in 2008, the Southwest Lacrosse Club is dedicated to the promotion, organization, and development of K-8 youth lacrosse from West Seattle to Federal Way. Our mission is to teach lacrosse fundamentals and good sportsmanship while emphasizing the importance of discipline, teamwork, and physical fitness. Players of all skill levels can develop their game, and we will prepare each athlete for the next level of play. No prior lacrosse experience is required, the club can provide all equipment if needed. We offer full and partial scholarships for those who qualify and have equipment available to loan.
Practices begin mid-February, and games run from March through the end of May. Check out our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
LOW BRIDGE CLOSED: Reminder that the West Seattle low bridge is closed to all road and path traffic until it’s fixed, and there’s no date estimate for that yet. We’ll have an update on the situation later today.
FARE-FREE TRANSIT: As announced earlier this week, most transit services – including Metro and the West Seattle Water Taxi – are not charging fares today/tonight.
FOOD DRIVE’S FINAL DAY: This is the last day of the holiday-season food drive at Canna West Culture Shop (5435 California SW), open 10 am-6 pm.
FREE WRITING GROUP: 10:30 am in West Seattle, registration required – full details in our calendar listing.
NEW YEAR’S EVE WALKS: Hosted by the Emerald City Wanderers, starting from St John the Baptist Episcopal Church. “The 6- or 10-kilometer walks are noncompetitive, starting between 4 and 7 PM on New Year’s Eve. There is no fee though contributions to help defray costs are welcome. Hot soups and beverages will be available during and after the walks.” St John’s is at 3050 California Ave SW.
NOT-SO-SILENT-NIGHT: Highland Park Improvement Club is bringing back this neighborhood tradition. Gather 5:30-6 pm at Highland Park Corner Store (7789 Highland Park Way SW), the starting point – details here.
MUSIC FESTIVAL AT THE SPOT – 6 pm to close, all ages, bands and a DJ, details here (2920 SW Avalon Way)
WEST SEATTLE YULETIDE: Final weekend for thousands of lights synched to music outside the Iversons‘ home on 38th SW between Genesee and Dakota – 6:30-10 pm.
NYE PARTY & COMEDY SHOW at Admiral Pub, 9 pm – details here (2306 California SW)
NYE PARTY AT LARIAT BAR: 9 pm tribute to GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), plus karaoke and midnight champagne toast (9829 16th SW)
WEST SEATTLE BOWL NYE: 9:30 pm party, reservations here if any remain, (39th/Oregon)
MIDNIGHT FIREWORKS: the Space Needle will do it again to greet 2023. Light and drone shows too – details here. Watching from West Seattle? Most north-facing parks/hillsides have a view, but don’t go too last-minute, especially along the water – parking and standing space can fill up.
Have something to add? Email info to email@example.com – thank you!
2:50 AM: Police and fire have responded to the 7000 block of Highland Park Way SW [map], which is toward the bottom of the hill, for a report of a man shot in the abdomen. Updates to come.
2:57 AM: Police are telling dispatch they’re finding shell casings nearby.
3:03 AM: Added a frame grab from the traffic camera at the bottom of the hill. Avoid the area for a while. The victim is being taken to Harborview by SFD Medic 26. No information so far on circumstances.
3:30 AM: Police just tweeted that “the victim reported being shot while in his vehicle.”
10:47 AM: SFD says the victim is “approximately 30 years old” and was in stable condition when transported.
2:26 PM: SPD has just released more information, calling this “a road-rage incident,” though not elaborating on why:
At 2:39 a.m., police responded near the entrance of the Duwamish River Trail and Highland Park Way Southwest after a witness in the area heard several shots fired. Officers arrived and located a man sitting outside his vehicle with a gun shot wound to his lower back.
Officers provided medical aid to the male victim while waiting for Seattle Fire Department medics to arrive and later transport the victim to Harborview Medical Center. The suspect involved fled the scene in a sedan-type vehicle in an unknown direction. Police canvassed the area and located evidence of the shooting but nothing further at this time. If you have any information about this incident, please contact SPD Violent Crimes Tip Line at 206-233-5000.