West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
By Monday afternoon’s deadline for appealing the city decision to grant nine zoning exceptions for the Alki Elementary School rebuild, six appeals had been filed with the city Hearing Examiner, which today ordered them consolidated into one case.
Two hours after the appeal deadline, Seattle Public Schools discussed the project at an in-person community meeting, which turned contentious as frustrated neighbors at times shouted their concerns about some of those zoning exceptions, particularly those related to transportation, including the removal of all on-site parking.
We reported last month on the city’s recommendation that the zoning exceptions – formally called “departures” – be approved. The district first mentioned in an online public meeting last June that it would seek departures, and a request for public comment went out last fall. However, the usual public process was truncated because of pandemic-related policies, and that’s part of what neighbors are upset about, saying they didn’t have a chance to participate in the design process or, later, to have their concerns heard.
So last night, after listening for an hour to district director of capital projects Richard Best, architect Becky Hutchinson of Mahlum, and transportation consultant Marni Heffron, they did what they could to be heard, at times shouting their disagreement with the project team’s contentions.
Story, photos, video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
The automotive industry needs skilled workers, and a new West Seattle facility is dedicated to educating them.
It’s the Steve and Sharon Huling Automotive Technology Center on the main campus of South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Puget Ridge, and a ceremony this afternoon celebrated its long road to reality – the plan has been traveling that road for more than a decade (we covered a “future home of …” sign-placement event at the site in 2011).
Now it’s built and open, and carries the names of the couple who have been major SSC benefactors for decades, with a special link to automotive-tech education because of their longtime family business. In honor of the occasion, Mayor Bruce Harrell proclaimed today to be “Steve and Sharon Huling Day,” according to a proclamation read at the event by SSD’s interim president Dr. Jean Hernandez:
Tours of the new 50,000-square-foot facility, which has actually been in service for months, followed speeches by college leaders and supporters, the Hulings, and even a graduate. We recorded it all on video:
Among the speakers, faculty member Doug Clapper emphasized how badly needed the facility is. “We’ve got more jobs than students right now.”
He recalled the facility plan being “first scratched out” as “a dream” that finally came true. It’s a program where the dream of a better life became reality through education and employment for graduate JoAnna Edwards. Her words of gratitude were full of emotion as she told those gathered, “You gave me the opportunity – I snatched it and ran with it.”
She went back to school at 36, a mom of three, a person who had struggled with rough times. “I was always waiting for somebody to rescue me; this school taught me how to rescue myself.” Now she has a new career and a job at an Eastside dealership.
A college supporter/adviser and local industry entrepreneur, Todd Ainsworth of Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor), was another of those who noted the industry had a shortage of new workers. He was also a former student, mentioning a connection with SSC going back to when he took apprenticeship classes there.
And, addressing the Hulings, Ainsworth offered a comment that many a longtime West Seattleite could echo – “My family bought cars from your family!”
Seattle Colleges‘ interim chancellor Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, who previously led SSC as president, talked about how having a new, modernized facility can inspire students as well as enhancing their education. “You bring people in who may not have a sense of what they want to do, then they walk into a place like this and say, ‘THIS could be my classroom?’.”
She also noted the Hulings’ support for the college’s 13th Year Promise scholarships, dating back long before that became a city-backed program. The Hulings themselves (whose children were there for the occasion) offered words of gratitude as well as praise for the program.
Steve Huling pointed out that the industry is continuing to innovate – “an industry that’s just starting to reinvent itself, with electric cars.” To underscore that point, several EVs from Lucid Motors were on display at the event.
(It was noted that’s what the Hulings drive.) In addition to high-tech equipment, the new building also has art:
“Oil Bloom” by Will Schlough, made from recycled oil drums painted into a flower, is over the staircase in the building’s foyer; the artist was there (lower-left corner of the photo above) to answer visitors’ questions.
Overall, dean of hospitality and service occupations Brian Scheehser, who emceed this afternoon’s event, declared the new center “an incredible learning space for our students.”
You can find out more about the Automotive Technology program at SSC by going here.
Another Kia theft. This report is from KG:
Stolen 2014 white Kia Sorento. Plates AVL7377. Last seen May 23 [today] around 10 am by SW Admiral Way & 60th Ave SW. Police Report # 23-141978. If seen, please call 911.
Evening whale-watching, anyone? Kersti Muul tells us that as of 6:30, orcas were northbound off The Arroyos, east in the channel.
Meet four of the 16 high-school juniors honored this year for academic achievement by West Seattle’s Alki Masonic Lodge #152. They are all from West Seattle High School – from left, Joaquin Huerta, Ruby Athan, Kamil Ignacio, and Linda Alvarracin. Also honored but not present at the ceremony were eight juniors from Chief Sealth International High School – Jurry Flores, Ocean Freeman, Amirah Helms, Tyler Jones, Jayson Nguyen, Joy Ohta, Samantha Scaia, and Stoli Sylwester – and four more from WSHS – Gaia Corvino, Quinn Dumont, Nathan Kellison-Miller, and Leah Morgan. The presentations were made during the Masons’ 42nd annual “School Awards Night in Support of Our Public School System.” The honorees are nominated by their schools’ faculty, and the awards include monetary gifts.
Some holidays, the West Seattle Water Taxi is out of service. But next Monday, on Memorial Day, Metro says the foot ferry will be running between Seacrest and downtown (though the Vashon Island Water Taxi will NOT run that day). It will be on a Sunday schedule that day – you can see the times here. (Metro buses will be on Sunday schedules that day, too.)
(SDOT camera image)
Another advisory about possible traffic effects from road work later this week – this time, on the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s the announcement from SDOT:
We are planning overnight lane closures on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge to perform routine preventative maintenance this Wednesday and Thursday. There are no problems with the bridge, and crews will be working to protect the interior of the bridge by applying waterproof sealant to access hatches along the surface of the bridge deck.
The closure will begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 and end by 5 a.m. the following morning. If necessary, the closure will be repeated the following night (Thursday, May 25). This work requires dry weather and is subject to change. The bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction overnight between State Route 99 and Delridge Way SW. All on- and off-ramps will remain open as normal.
3:32 PM: Just got an update from SDOT that this work has been postponed “due to a delayed materials shipment.” No new date yet.
For almost three years now, intrepid artists affiliated with Highland Park Improvement Club have been creating A-board art installations outside the fire-shuttered HPIC building at 12th/Holden. This started when SW Holden was traffic-jammed during the bridge closure, and has continued. But today, one of the boards has disappeared. Kay @ HPIC hopes you can help find it:
Someone has made off with one of the HPIC A-Frame signs. Our volunteers complete these as a set and we need all of them to tell our stories. Hoping someone just pulled up and tossed elsewhere! Folks can email us at hpic1919 (at) gmail.com if they see it, and a volunteer can come pick up.
HPIC’s first A-board art installation went up in August 2020, and the art has changed several times since then.
That photo texted from The Arroyos in southwesternmost West Seattle is first word we got today of that alarming-looking but relatively common phenomenon. It’s not “red tide” but rather a bloom of microorganisms called Noctiluca – explained here by the state Ecology Department, which says that “sunshine, nutrients, and warm temperatures contribute to large seasonal blooms.” Experts say it’s not toxic but it is a sign of environmental imbalance, as noted here.
This alert is from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, for work that will affect traffic:
King County Wastewater Treatment Division is building a wet weather storage facility near the intersection of SW Michigan Street and 2nd Ave SW to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Duwamish River. Starting as early as May 25, crews will spend up to four business days potholing, or digging small holes, to better understand the locations and condition of utility lines including sewer, power, water, telephone, and gas lines. This work will occur at the storage facility site and near the following locations:
-2nd Ave SW between SW Michigan Street and Highland Park Way SW
-SW Michigan Street east of 2nd Ave SW
-Highland Parkway SW near the intersection with 2nd Ave SW
-W Marginal Way SW near the intersection with SW Front Street
What you can expect
-Work hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on business days between May 25 and May 30. Potholing on Highland Park Way SW may require night work due to high traffic volumes in the area.
-Temporary lane closures with flaggers on site to assist vehicle and pedestrian movement. Lane closures will not be concurrent, and each will last up to three hours.
-One drill rig and up to four service vehicles on site.
-Noise and slight vibrations during work hours, including engine noise and periodic hammering.
-Occasional truck traffic accessing the site during work hours.
Here’s what’s happening for the rest of today/tonight, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
POSTCARDS TO VOTERS: Weekly meetup for long-distance political advocacy and networking, 10:30 am at C & P Coffee Company – just drop in to join in. (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor).
CHESS CLUB: Tuesdays 1:30-3 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon): “Are you looking for a new activity to keep your brain sharp and clear? The Senior Center Chess Club welcomes both novice and experienced players. Join us at 1:30 p.m. for lessons, short tutorials, and chess for all levels of expertise.” (Questions? Email email@example.com.)
DEMONSTRATION FOR BLACK LIVES: Long-running weekly sign-waving demonstration at 16th/Holden. 5-6 pm. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
BURGERS, BRAINS, AND BREWS: Seattle Beer Week festivities continue at Ounces, with a smash-burger pop-up 5-8 pm plus trivia at 7 pm. (3809 Delridge Way SW)
WEST SEATTLE COWORKING RIBBONCUTTING: 6 pm, West Seattle Coworking (WSB sponsor) celebrates its new expansion location at 9030 35th SW with a ribboncutting and rooftop party. Interested in attending? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and Ross will send you an invite.
SCRABBLE NIGHT: 6-10 pm, you can play Scrabble at The Missing Piece (9456 35th SW).
BELLE OF THE BALLS BINGO: Play bingo with Cookie Couture at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 8 pm. Free, all ages!
You can look into the future any time via our event calendar – if you have something to include on it, please email info to email@example.com – thank you!
2011 Infiniti G37 Sport – 4-door with silver lining and white interior. Stolen last night around 8 from just outside Hall at Fauntleroy – if seen please call 911. License # CGH4399. Police report # 23-141027
9:45 AM: Jeff notes in comments below that a stalled truck has jammed the eastbound West Seattle Bridge ramp to NB I-5, and sent this photo:
6:00 AM: Good morning. It’s Tuesday, May 23rd, four workdays to go until Memorial Day weekend (unless yours starts earlier!).
WEATHER & SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES
We’re moving back toward warmth. Today’s forecast: Partly sunny, high in the mid-60s. Sunrise was at 5:23 am; sunset will be at 8:50 pm.
Metro – Regular schedule, but trip cancellations are still possible.
Water Taxi – Continuing the spring/summer schedule, including late-evening runs Friday and Saturday nights.
Washington State Ferries‘ Triangle Route continues on the 2-boat schedule; sailing cancellations remain possible on short notice, so check here for alerts/updates and see Vessel Watch for boats’ locations.
SPOTLIGHT TRAFFIC CAMERAS
High Bridge – the main camera:
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (when SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way):
Low Bridge – east-end vicinity:
1st Ave. S. Bridge – another route across the river:
Highway 99: – northbound side at Lander.
BRIDGE INFO: Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if the city’s movable bridges are opening for vessel traffic.
If you see a problem on the bridges/streets/paths/bay, please text or call us (when you can do it safely, and after you’ve reported to authorities). Thank you!