West Seattle, Washington
Though the stolen-car-magnet encampment by the 1st Avenue South Bridge was the central topic of tonight’s Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Council meeting, another encampment is the subject of our first headline from the meeting: City rep Tom Van Bronkhorst told the group that the Harbor Avenue RV encampment is scheduled to be swept again “at the end of this month.” RVs that don’t voluntarily move will be towed, he said. That’s unless there’s evidence someone is living there, added Operations Lt. Dorothy Kim, although she said outreach workers believe that several of the Harbor RVs are NOT being used as homes and may even have the same owner. Leading up to the sweep, Van Bronkhorst said, SDOT is going to the area for “debris removal” weekly. Lt. Kim noted that people with houses and businesses in the area need to be aware that when the sweep happens, the area will be posted as “no parking” for a few weeks. So how will they keep the RVs from returning again this time? Lt. Kim said police, including Parking Enforcement Officers, plan to be “diligent” about enforcement. What about more-permanent action like an RPZ, as has been suggested? That’s all still being discussed.
As for the 1st Avenue South encampment and other topics addressed tonight – we’ll have a separate full report on that, including video of the meeting, Friday morning.
King County Elections didn’t update results today because of a power problem, according to its website. So the newest numbers remain the ones posted Wednesday. But here’s one we haven’t looked at yet – the “other” election in which voting ended Tuesday night – the “online ballot access” voting for King Conservation District Supervisor. West Seattle resident Csenka Favorini-Csorba is leading with 5,420 votes, 52.68%; Chris Porter – also a West Seattleite – is in second with 3,378 votes, 32.83%, and April Brown is in third with 1,452 votes, 14.11%. The total number of votes received and tallied so far – 10,290 – equals only three-quarters of a percent of all voters (1,314,228).
Just in – the King County Wastewater Treatment Division says Fauntleroy beaches have reopened “after water quality testing over consecutive days showed safe results.” As reported here Wednesday morning, the beaches were closed because of two overflows blamed on power anomalies at the county-operated Barton Pump Station during Monday night’s thunderstorm. KCWTD says the 101,100 gallons of wastewater that overflowed was “safely routed into a pipe that empties into Puget Sound about 600 feet offshore.” It’s working to figure out how to keep this kind of problem from happening again, noting “While the pump station is equipped with an automatic backup generator, the facility did not experience a complete power outage that would have activated the backup system. Wastewater engineers are researching ways to mitigate the effects of poor power quality, including power sags, bumps or surges on pumps, which are designed to shut down when encountering inconsistent power.”
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged the man accused of setting the two-alarm fire Sunday that damaged at least six apartments including his own in South Delridge. 35-year-old Ermiyas N. Woldearegay is charged with one count of first-degree arson. The charging documents confirm for the first time that he indeed was questioned one day earlier about a smaller fire outside his own unit. From the charging documents:
On 02.11.2023, Seattle Fire personnel responded to 1725 SW Barton St. regarding a fire on a porch of unit 104. When SFD arrived, Woldearegay was standing on the porch, “poking” at the fire with a stick. SFD put the fire out and summoned Seattle Police Department personnel, as well as Seattle Fire Investigators, to the scene. Following the interview with Woldearegay, and after unsuccessfully attempting to locate any witnesses or video of the incident, the fire cause was preliminarily determined to be “undetermined” by Seattle Fire Investigators. A Seattle Police report was written for this case (2023-040055).
On 02.12.223, at approximately 7:42 AM, Seattle Fire requested Seattle Police respond and provide traffic control at a large apartment fire at 1725 SW Barton St. Once officers arrived on scene, it was determined that Woldearegay was in a Seattle Fire Medic unit, suffering from burns related to the fire. As he was being treated, witnesses … contacted officers and stated that they had seen Woldearegay light his porch, unit 104, and their porch, unit 103, on fire. They described Woldearegay as holding a torch, manufactured from what appeared to be a wooden stick with cloth wrapped around the top. The top of the torch was on fire, and, according to (witness), appeared to be covered with some sort of accelerant, allowing the torch to burn. Woldearegay put this open flame torch to the porch of unit 103, the porch of unit 104, and the wall in-between. As this was done, the building quickly became engulfed in flames, necessitating the evacuation of the entire building. The fire grew in size and quickly spread through a large portion of the building, completely destroying a number of units.
The charging documents also say Woldearegay suffered “severe burns to his head, torso, arms, and legs.” No one else was reported injured, though as reported the day of the fire, a cat was found dead (the charging documents do not say anything about the parakeet also mentioned that day). The court papers say 11 of the building’s 14 units were occupied at the time. In discussion following our Sunday report, a commenter claimed the building is managed by supportive-housing provider DESC; we followed up and DESC spokesperson Claire Tuohy-Morgan said the organization does not manage the building but does have some tenants there. She would not comment on how many, nor whether Woldearegay is among them, citing “privacy concerns.” Woldearegay, meantime, has apparently been transferred from the hospital to jail, as he is on the King County Jail register as of just before 9 pm last night, with bail set at $250,000, which is what prosecutors say they requested. He has no felony criminal record.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports:
POLICE AT LINCOLN PARK: We took that photo late this morning in the park’s north parking lot, having gone there to check out a reader report of police looking for a man reported to be armed with a knife. They told us only that they hadn’t found anyone and were leaving. The call was classified “disturbance, miscellaneous.” Another reader has since told us the call was a report of “a male in Lincoln Park who pulled a knife on several adult males and threatened others.” SPD’s communications team confirms, “It appears he was threatening people in the park while waving the knife around he held in his hand. There was no assault involving the knife.”
STOLEN CAR: Linda‘s Civic was stolen in a Junction parking lot:
My green 1999 Honda Civic was stolen on Wednesday 2/15/23 at the Diamond Parking lot on 42nd SW and Oregon SW near the West Seattle Senior Center. License plate 404 XKZ. Police incident #23-044393.
TRUCK STOLEN, THEN FOUND: From Jonathan:
I live in the Westernair Apartments, 4201 SW Graham, and had my Ford F-350 stolen either last night or sometime this morning. I was able to recover it due to a Apple Air Tag I hid in the truck though the thieves did tear my truck apart probably looking for it. I recovered it on the 22100 block of 98th Pl S in Kent. I called Kent PD and requested they do a drive-by to see if my truck was there and although it took a long time to get ahold of non-emergency Seattle PD, I was able to get the car marked as stolen. Kent Police sat on the vehicle for 1 hour while I zoomed down to get it back. I had an alarm they were able to defeat and disable and had a back window broken out. This is the 6th time my car’s been broken into since Covid started in 2020 when I purchased the truck and the 1st time they successfully stole it. Happy to have it back and maybe my success with having an Air Tag hidden will be something others can copy and gain a small amount of oversight over their vehicles.
Above are two SDOT maps from the pothole program – at left, pending potholes as of last week; at right, recently patched potholes as of last week. Today the department is out with its latest stats: 23,000 potholes filled last year, 50 percent more than the year before, and the most in any of the past five years. The roads suffered extra damage in the December ice storm, so SDOT says it’s beefed up its response team, and is on an even busier pace so far this year – 5,500 potholes filled since January 1st. They warn that the usual within-three-days response-time goal has been tougher to meet while they catch up on storm damage. The update notes:
When SDOT crews respond to a request to fill a pothole, they also repair any other nearby potholes they discover. This year, crews have also been patrolling snow plow routes to proactively look for new potholes. These routes are essential to Seattle’s transportation system and are more likely to develop potholes because they carry more heavy vehicles during winter storms.
New potholes continue to appear every day, so SDOT is asking for the traveling public’s patience as crews continue to repair new road damage. SDOT cannot fix potholes that it doesn’t know about, so the public can help by reporting any potholes using the Find It, Fix It app, this online form, emailing 684-ROAD@seattle.gov, or calling 206-684-ROAD.
Today’s update also addresses the question of why some potholes need repeated refilling.
Three West Seattle biznotes:
MOUNTAIN TO SOUND OUTFITTERS SALE: The shop at 3602 SW Alaska (WSB sponsor) is kicking off the holiday weekend early with a sale starting tomorrow (Friday, February 17th):
Hi there, Neighbors!
Mountain to Sound Outfitters is having our annual Presidents Day Clearance beginning Friday the 17th and you all are invited to come check out the hottest deals in the area on skis, snowboards, boots and clothing! Up to 40% off on select hard and soft goods.
We are also doing buy one get one half off full tune specials so come see us in the tune shop! Now is the perfect time to get stocked up and tuned up for the last half of our season.
M2SO is open 10 am-7 pm weekdays, 10 am-5 pm weekends.
EL CAMION UPDATE: The Fauntleroy food truck has been away from its spot in the Endolyne business district for site work and maintenance. When last we checked in, they were hoping to return last week, but they’re not back yet. So we checked in again. Via email, Scott tells us the truck maintenance has taken longer than expected: “There was an issue getting some parts and it has taken a while, but I am being told that it is going to be ready this evening and that we could be back in operation on Saturday.”
COFFEE FUNDRAISER: Many of your favorite local independent small businesses continue helping local nonprofits and school groups with dining/drinking fundraisers. Next one on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar is at Hotwire Coffee (4410 California SW) tomorrow (Friday, February 17th) – get coffee (or another beverage) there on Friday and tell them you’re there for the Genesee Hill Elementary PTA fundraiser, so they’ll get a share of the proceeds. Hotwire is open 6:30 am-5 pm.
(Photo by Rosalie Miller – underside of Fauntleroy Park leaf with map fungus; click here to see topside)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, here’s what’s ahead for the rest of today/tonight:
BLACK HISTORY MONTH PRESENTATION: 1 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon), Carol-Ann Sharp Thornton tells her story as “A Child of Color Reflecting on West Seattle History.” Our calendar listing explains how to RSVP.
WEST SEATTLE UKULELE PLAYERS: All levels welcome, weekly 1 pm gathering. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see where you’ll find them playing today.
HIGHLAND PARK RUN CLUB: Also at HP Corner Store, meet up at 6:30 pm Thursdays for a ~3-mile run.
MIDDLE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE @ PATHFINDER K-8: Prospective middle-school families are invited to visit Pathfinder K-8 at 5:45 pm today. (1901 SW Genesee)
SW PRECINCT CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Hear from and talk with police, plus special guest Tom Van Bronkhorst from the city Unified Care Team to talk about the 1st Avenue South encampment, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster), in-person or online (see our calendar listing for video/phone attendance info).
If you have something to add to our calendar, please email info to email@example.com – thank you!
Family and friends will gather next month to celebrate the life of Terry C. O’Neill, and are sharing this remembrance with his community:
Terry C. O’Neill
June 5, 1936 – January 26, 2023
On January 26th, 2023, Terry passed from the arms of his beloved wife Wendy for over 64 years into the eternal arms of Jesus. He was surrounded by his loving family in his final days of life here on earth. He valiantly fought a long battle of recurring pneumonia, which rewarded him extended months, if not years, with us all.
Terry was the firstborn of Thomas and Hope O’Neill (Foster) and then his brother Michael came along in 1939. He attended Lafayette Elementary, James Madison Junior High, and graduated from West Seattle High School in 1954. He attended Whitman College for one year and then the University of Washington night school while working full time in the family business in West Seattle, O’Neill Plumbing Company, started by his grandfather James O’Neill in 1917.
Growing up, Terry spent the summers with his family on the North Shore of Hood Canal. He became an excellent water-skier and enjoyed boating and sailing with his family and friends. It was on the beaches of Hood Canal at a young age that Terry met Wendy – eventually becoming the love of his life. Terry was very involved in the Sea Scouts and spent many days and weeks aboard the Yankee Clipper throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. He loved being on the water with the wind in his face and the waves at his feet. He was also a very accomplished snow skier. He took road trips with friends to Sun Valley, ID (sleeping in a van), and even hiked up part of Mt. Rainier from Paradise and skied down. He loved the outdoors spending time with friends and family.
Terry was a loving husband to Wendy (Arnold) since their marriage in August 1958. Together they traveled for special celebratory occasions to Hawaii, Fiji, and Europe. He was a wonderful father to Tomi Jean O’Neill, Todd & Lizzie O’Neill, and Tim & Stephanie O’Neill. Terry and Wendy valued making memories with their family and planned wonderful vacations. They went camping throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia; they sailed through the San Juan Islands; went skiing on winter weekends to all the mountains in WA; they spent spring breaks in Palm Desert and Maui, and summers of course on the shores of Hood Canal. In 2007 Wendy and Terry fulfilled a longtime dream of purchasing a winter home in Scottsdale, AZ. They enjoyed their home with family and friends for many years.
Terry was a special “Papa” to all of his grandchildren (6) and great-grandchildren (almost 8). He leaves a legacy with each of them – Brandon & Stacy LaVielle with Layla (7) and Scarlett (5) in Seattle, Marie (O’Neill) & Caleb Bagdanov with Simon (3) and Moses (1) in Santa Barbara, CA, Alex LaVielle in Seattle, Katie (O’Neill) & Andrew Thompson with Everett (5), Oliver (3), and Ford (2 months) in Gig Harbor, WA, Samantha (LaVielle) & Mike Kerr who are due with their firstborn in May in Seattle, and Annie (O’Neill) & Casey Borden in Portland, OR.
Terry and Wendy took over the reins of O’Neill Plumbing Co. in 1961 from his parents and grew the business tremendously over the next five decades. He handed the operation to his youngest son Tim, who purchased the business with his wife Stephanie in 2013. Early on in the business he was plumbing and working out of his truck while Wendy answered the phones day and night operating a 24/7 emergency service business. They soon added another plumber, which meant another truck and equipment, and then another. In 1976 they expanded by purchasing a building on California Avenue in West Seattle where the 105-year-old family-owned business still operates from today. They added an underground division while continuing to grow the repair and emergency side of the business for both residential and commercial customers. Terry and Wendy supported many community programs through the company including the Lions Club, Pee Wee Baseball, and the YMCA. They always believed in generously giving back to the community.
Terry loved a good conversation. He was always asking good questions of others and sincerely interested in everyone he met. He poured into people whether that was his family, his team at O’Neill Plumbing Co. or his friends. Terry was a loyal friend over the years staying in touch with some of his first childhood friends throughout his entire life. Whenever anyone had a conversation with Terry either briefly or at length, they usually heard a cute joke and walked away laughing and smiling. Terry loved to laugh and keep things on the lighter side.
Terry has faith in Jesus Christ as his Rock and Redeemer. He lived out the principles of his faith by serving others and doing what was right, true, and good. He understood and extended grace to others on many occasions. He and Wendy attended Fauntleroy Congregational Church in the ’60s and then in the mid-’70s joined Hope Lutheran Church in West Seattle.
Terry will be deeply missed by his wife, his family, and so many friends and colleagues. As he shared just a couple weeks before his passing, “I’ve had a good life and I have a wonderful family.” We love you Papa, and we will be with you again someday.
A celebration of life honoring Terry will be held at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor at 2 pm on Sunday, March 19th. Please visit www.rill.com to view pictures of Terry and leave a personal story or remembrance. If you would like to make a gift in his memory, please do so to the charity of your choice.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Thursday, February 16th.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain, high in the upper 40s.
-Regular schedule for the West Seattle Water Taxi.
–Holiday reminder: Monday is Presidents’ Day. with some transportation changes, including no Water Taxi service that day.
High Bridge – the camera at the top:
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (when SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way):
Low Bridge – looking east to west:
1st Ave. S. Bridge – the south route across the river:
Highway 99: – the northbound side at Lander.
MORE TRAFFIC CAMS: See all working traffic cams citywide here, most with video options; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are on this WSB page … Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
If you see a problem on the bridges/streets/paths/water, please text or call us (when you can do it safely, and after you’ve reported to authorities if needed) – 206-293-6302.