West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We often hear from people upset about RV encampments. We seldom hear from the people who live in them. Tonight we talked with an RV resident because of this:
Last night, that note was called to our attention on Twitter by local “mutual aid” volunteers. They said the note was found last night by vehicle residents on Puget Ridge. “We have been asked by our friends to help call attention to this, hoping that putting a spotlight on this will grant them some small level of protection should the author of this letter attack them or their homes,” the volunteers tweeted. When we asked a followup question, they offered to put us in touch with a recipient. This morning, they provided a name and number, and tonight we spoke by phone with Michelle.
She and her husband recently moved their vehicles (including a truck) to 16th SW alongside South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), where earlier today we counted three RVs and two trucks. Michelle says they found a copy of the note on their windshield; another woman who lives in a vehicle on the block found a copy stuck in her door. It’s not the first time they’ve been harassed, Michelle says, citing incidents of people throwing things at them, from rocks to dog poop.
They aren’t longtime vehicle residents, she says, but they are longtime West Seattle residents – 17 years. Her husband is a 33-year longshore worker who suffered a stroke last fall. They’re looking for an apartment, she says, and thought they’d found one recently, but the landlord changed their mind. So they’ve been moving from parking site to parking site – Westwood and Highland Park before the current stop in Puget Ridge.
For people like her who live in vehicles, Michelle says, what would really help is a place to park. Even a space they’d have to pay rent for. (The City Council budgeted money for a “safe lot” and the Regional Homelessness Authority has awarded a nonprofit a $1.9 million contract to get one going – LIHI, the same nonprofit that runs tiny-house villages including West Seattle’s Camp Second Chance – but they haven’t set one up yet, saying they’re still seeking a site.) A place to park where they wouldn’t get harassed.
Which brings us back to the note. If you could talk to the anonymous note-writer, we asked Michelle, what would you tell them? That their allegations are wrong, she says. Nobody there currently is a sex offender, drug dealer, or addict, as the note alleges, Michelle insists. In fact, she suggests, if they’re worried about sex offenders, they should be more concerned about a “halfway house” she says is somewhere nearby. (For the record, the sex-offender-search website shows 4 within a mile radius of that location, but nothing suggesting a cluster.) She does acknowledge that sometimes they “make a mess” – she and her husband have three dogs – but “we pick it up.”
As of our conversation tonight, nobody had yet to carry out the note’s threats. And she says it’s apparently on police’s radar, as officers came by earlier to check in. (Making threats like those in the note is a crime.) But for now, she asks for a little tolerance: “We’re not trying to be out here – we just have nowhere else to go.”
ADDED 2:38 PM TUESDAY: Just saw this in the SPD report summaries:
On 02-20-2023 in the early morning hours, a victim heard a noise outside his RV and observed an unidentified subject placing something on vehicle windshields. The victim was able to obtain some evidence but could not identify the subject. The victim later discovered the item was a note which referenced the RV owners’ housing status. The letter continued with threats to damage the vehicles, among other threats. The victim called 911 to report the incident. A total of four victims were identified and had all received the same letter. Patrol attempted to contact a suspect at his home but did not receive an answer. Bias crimes notifications were made.
The incident # is 23-048910.
If you have a preschool-age child, this is for you. The announcement was sent by the Greater Seattle YMCA (parent organization of longtime WSB sponsor West Seattle YMCA):
Ready for Kindergarten? By KCLS & YMCA of Greater Seattle
Wednesday, February 22; 2:00 pm-3:00 pm
Join us online to learn about:
-Reading at Home
This is a FREE session for the community and is aimed for families with 3-5 year-olds.
Congratulations to West Seattle Nursery for an award-winning run at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival. The report is from WSN’s Marie McKinsey:
The crew at West Seattle Nursery is tired but happy today. Their display garden, “Shaded from Reality,” just won the Founder’s Cup – Best in Show Award at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival. They also won the Beyond Beautiful Award from Fine Gardening Magazine, and a Gold Medal.
The garden featured a rustic greenhouse in the woods, built using reclaimed windows and other recycled materials. The structure was surrounded by shade-loving plants, including a stunning collection of hellebores, with a stream tumbling over rock near the entrance.
The Show opened on February 15th and closed last night.
It was held at the Convention Center downtown.
7:14 PM: Police and fire are headed for a two-vehicle crash reported at Delridge/Trenton. One texter reports one vehicle is up over the curb and almost into a building. Responders are checking on whether anyone was hurt. Avoid the area for a while.
7:31 PM: That’s one of the cars, currently blocking southbound Delridge; the other is blocking the sidewalk on the southwest corner of Delridge/Trenton. Our crew at the scene was told no one was seriously hurt and police are just waiting for tow trucks to come remove the vehicles.
7:56 PM: Eastbound Trenton is temporarily closed right now, officers have just told dispatch.
A gunfire investigation starts West Seattle Crime Watch:
GUNFIRE INVESTIGATION: Thanks for the tips about police activity at the West Duwamish Greenbelt trailhead off Highland Park Way, just uphill from West Marginal Way. Officers were investigating reports of a man seen firing a gun “into the treeline” just after 3:30 pm. Police told dispatch they found casings on the trail, in multiple locations. One possible suspect was reported detained but we don’t know yet whether they were subsequently arrested. No injuries reported. (Tuesday update: The person was not arrested; he told police he “drove a friend to that location and the friend had brought and fired a gun in the woods,” and no witnesses had seen the detained person firing the gun. Others reported seeing a second person in the area but he was not found.)
Also in Crime Watch, three reader reports – two car prowls and one mailbox prowl:
PICKUP BREAK-IN: From Creighton:
This morning someone broke into my late-model Dodge Ram truck that was parked deep in my driveway in front of my house. I live near Beach Dr & Jacobsen (south of Me Kwa Mooks). They took: the radio, a set of white twin bed sheets (??), and a few hand tools. They left the spare change, other hand tools, and didn’t take the registration. My neighbor’s camera picked up a suspicious video at 5:49 am of an older American (Ranger or Chevy S10?) truck exiting a nearby alley and approaching my house turning off its headlights.
The stealth mode sorta worked, but the truck had a loud untuned engine and bad muffler and squeaky suspension that was noticeable. It had a large box in its bed, and the tailgate down. Earlier this month a 6-foot aluminum ladder I kept near my truck disappeared, but I thought I loaned it to someone…but now suspect it was also stolen and wouldn’t surprise me if this was the same person again. I wanted others to be on the lookout for this rattle-trap bad-guy truck searching for things to steal in the early morning hours. Police report filed, and all things pawn-able or scrap worthy removed from outside my house.
TWO CARS PROWLED: From Peter, also in South Alki: “Car prowl last night, 2-19, between 9:00 PM and 7:00A M this morning. Two cars rifled through, coins taken. Cars were parked on 57th Place SW, just north of SW Orleans St.”
MAILBOX PROWLER: From Kevin in the 3800 block of 34th SW:
At about 12:30 am (Sunday) this prowler opens my mailbox to see if there’s anything in there he can grab. Maybe in light of all the other crime in our area this may be a tip that leads to something else.
The car he’s walking toward is my tan sedan, but the car behind me has been parked there for the last five days and we reported it to police. That car behind me is a white Odyssey minivan with license plates, AWL to start, Washington.
(Added 5:30 pm: Photo by Jerry Simmons)
2:13 PM: You’ve probably noticed it’s windy, as forecast. But now the National Weather Service says it’s likely to continue at “Wind Advisory” alert level until early Tuesday. Just updated a few minutes ago, the alert is in effect until 6 am tomorrow and says “southwest winds 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph expected.” (If you have power, tree, etc. trouble, once you’ve alerted the authorities – 206-684-3000 for power, 206-386-1800 for road hazards like fallen trees – please let us know, 206-293-6302 text or voice – thank you!)
ADDED 6:41 PM: The southwest winds made for big waves at Constellation Park – Dene Miles tweeted some video viewable here. Also note that one more weather alert is in effect, a “Coastal Flood Advisory” for 4 am-10 am Tuesday, with a baseline-predicted 12.7-foot high tide just after 6 am, and the weather possibly still unsettled then.
Keith Hughes, who runs the West Seattle Veteran Center and the emergency shelter hosted inside it, is “Washingtonian of the Day.” Governor Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee traveled to West Seattle this morning to present the award in person.
Here’s our video of the short ceremony, in which the governor presented that certificate as well as an apple pin:
There to show their support were community leaders from groups/organizations including the Westside Interfaith Network, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (which honored Hughes last year as Westsider of the Year), and WS Junction Association.
Before presenting the award, the Inslees toured the center/shelter, housed inside historic American Legion Post 160. With another snap of sub-freezing weather forecast for later this week, we asked Hughes if the shelter has any specific current needs. Here’s what you can donate: Hot-cocoa mix (packets preferred), coffee creamer (powdered type), underwear, T-shirts, and jeans (men’s and women’s) – not a huge amount of those items, maybe a dozen each. The center/shelter is at 3618 SW Alaska. (Added: And as noted in comments, it now has a website.)
Jesse hopes to get these postcards to their rightful recipients:
We got these postcards a few days ago from Andrew addressed to Mary Kay and Mat, and Mom and Dad. There’s no one here in the building by that name, so I figured I would reach out to see if any of the blog readers might know where these go.
The Antarctic trip looks amazing, and wouldn’t want Andrew’s parents to miss out on their postcards!
The erroneous address was on California SW north of The Junction, so maybe the correct one isn’t far. If these were for you, email us at email@example.com and we’ll connect you.
Thinking about college? You can attend right here in West Seattle. Learn about South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) and its sibling colleges during this series of upcoming events:
The Seattle Colleges District, including South Seattle College, is holding annual Discover Seattle Colleges events late February into early March. Join us virtually or in-person to learn about our programs and services. There will be two in-person open houses at South Seattle College’s main campus in West Seattle (March 7) and our Georgetown campus (March 6). Registration is now open for Spring Quarter, starting April 3, with in-person, online and hybrid courses available.
Online Events – Monday, Feb. 27 – Thursday, March 2, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
In-person Open House – Monday, March 6 – Thursday, March 9, 3-6 p.m.
Visit seattlecolleges.edu/discover for dates, topics, locations and sign-up links.
Part I: Online Events ∙ Feb. 27-March 2
The first series is four online events exploring academic programs and career pathways at Seattle Colleges. Each one-hour online event offers prospective students (and their families) a chance to hear from instructors and learn more about the programs that interest them. The events are organized by area of study and include presentations from faculty in academic programs or career pathways in the following areas:
Health and Medical / Education and Human Services: Monday, Feb. 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Business and Accounting / Science, Engineering and Technology: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Culinary, Hospitality and Wine / Skilled Trades and Technical Training: Wednesday, March 1, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Arts, Design and Graphics / Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages: Thursday, March 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Part II: Campus Open Houses ∙ March 6-9
The second event series is campus open houses. Prospective students and community members are invited to learn about our programs, take campus tours, and enjoy refreshments, demonstrations and college giveaways. Talk to faculty and staff about your goals and learn more about admissions and student resources.
Georgetown Apprenticeship & Education Center, South Seattle College: Monday, March 6, 3-6 p.m.
South Seattle College Main Campus (in West Seattle): Tuesday, March 7, 3-6 p.m.
Seattle Central College and North Seattle College also have open houses this week
Interested participants are invited to attend all events. Learn more and sign up on our website at seattlecolleges.edu/discover.
Family and friends will gather March 4th to remember Maarten Verburg, and are sharing this remembrance with his community:
Martinus “Maarten” Verburg, 56 years old, of Seattle, passed away on February 13, 2023 following a nearly year-long battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Born in Santpoort, Netherlands to Martinus and Henrica Verburg, Maarten is survived by his wife Marcy Mabry, son Yoeri Verburg (Hoofddoorp, Netherlands), bonus children Jessica and Jakob Rugland & bonus mom Jeanie Larson (Seattle), sister Annette Verburg (San Juan Capistrano, CA), brothers Kees (Sen) Verburg (Hechtel-Eksel, Belgium) & Frans (Mary) Verburg (Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands), nieces and nephews Tom (Olivia), Sebastiaan, Maaike, and Sabine Molloy, Kerenza, Karst, & Kevin Verburg, and Jordan, Kai, & Ciara Verburg, countless good friends from his travels around the world, and the WS Naz church community who welcomed him with open arms and love. A Launch Mission Manager at ISISpace, Maarten dearly loved his colleagues and never lost that childlike joy of getting to launch satellites on rockets.
Maarten loved all things where he could use his imagination: playing piano, saxophone, & bass guitar, photography (he had all the patience to wait for just the right shot), drawing, painting, cooking, songwriting, and poetry. From backpacking, hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking, running, ice skating, swimming, Maarten loved anything active outdoors. He loved working with his hands, from construction, to landscaping, to getting on the floor and playing Legos. His love of travel and animals began as a child, when he spent a few years in South Africa. Making friends around the world taught Maarten that we all have more in common than not.
Maarten was such an extrovert but also very humble. He’d be the first to admit that he was imperfect and didn’t have all the answers, and he did not suffer fools gladly. But Maarten did have two guiding principles: Never Give Up On Anyone, and Do Good & Don’t Look Back.
A funeral service will be held in his honor at 10:00 am PST on March 4 at West Seattle Church of the Nazarene. Reception following at the church and at our home next door. Maarten appreciated a good whisky – we’ll raise a glass in his honor.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made for the completion of Maarten Park, a park for gathering the community adjacent to WS Church of the Nazarene and our home: gofund.me/f54126ac
Deepest thanks to Maarten’s care team at Fred Hutch Cancer Center and UW Medical Center, including Dr. Ryan Cassaday, Heather, Christen, Lindsay, Jonelle, Kayelin & Ruth (UW 8SA), and countless nurses and staff who supported Maarten with kindness, caring, tenacity, and for allowing Maarten’s humor to shine through amidst the fight. That Maarten was only in hospice care for 4 days is but one testament to their honoring him.
(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)
(Bald Eagle photographed along Harbor Avenue by John Skerratt)
Good morning and welcome to Monday, February 20th, Presidents Day. Here’s what you should know:
Transit – No Water Taxi service today; Metro is on a regular weekday schedule; here’s the Sound Transit holiday plan
Traffic cameras – Here’s our page of West Seattle-relevant cameras; the citywide map is here
Parking – No charge today for pay-station spaces on city streets in neighborhoods with them
Schools – Closed
Libraries – Closed
Parks facilities – Here’s what’s closed and what’s open
Mail – Holiday for most USPS facilities/services
Banks – Holiday
Windy and rainy, high near 50. (And looking back – two years ago, we were coming out of a big snowfall!)
Check the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – highlight for tonight is 7 pm comedy at Otter on the Rocks (4210 SW Admiral Way) – check here to see if any tickets are left.
If you see news – including traffic trouble – please call or text 206-293-6302 when you can do so safely – thank you!
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