West Seattle, Washington
As of tonight, the old Alki Elementary is almost completely demolished, but a matter that must be settled before the new one is built is still in question. More than two weeks have now passed since a city hearing examiner ruled in favor of neighbors challenging the city decision to allow a zoning exception so the replacement school – with a higher capacity – can be built without parking. We’ve been asking both the city Department of Construction and Inspections and Seattle Public Schools what they plan to do to respond to the ruling. We finally got an answer today from SDCI; spokesperson Wendy Shark tells WSB, “SDCI has communicated to the district to revise the project proposal to include the required parking or provide additional information to supplement a revised decision. A revised decision would be appealable to the Hearing Examiner. Timing of these actions is dependent on the district.” The required parking, per city code, is 48 spaces. The district has one other option – they could appeal the hearing examiner’s decision in King County Superior Court; so far court records show no indication they’re doing that. What they do plan to do, we don’t know yet, as we asked again as soon as we heard from SDCI this morning, but we hadn’t received a district response by day’s end. The building permit can’t be finalized until the issue is settled. The new school is supposed to be ready in two years.
Just in time for another heat wave, there’s a new type of ice cream in town. Meaghan Haas of Highland Park Corner Store says it’s a new sideline in her storefront:
Tip Top an Ice Cream Shop brings New Zealand-style ice cream to Seattle. New Zealand-style ice cream, also known as real fruit ice cream, blends frozen fruit into an ice cream base, creating a custom-flavored ice cream each time. While it has been popular in New Zealand for quite some time, this fruity treat is just now catching on in the States. With only a handful of Little Jems (the custom-made ice cream blenders) in the States, Tip Top is the first one here in Seattle.
Tip Top’s tagline is “New Zealand-style ice cream with a Northwest twist.” Sourcing local ingredients that reflect the flavors of both New Zealand (hokey pokey – aka seafoam – from Indu!ge Desserts) and the Northwest (sweet cream and coconut cream base from Full Tilt), Tip Top seeks to keep the simple intent of NZ-style ice cream with local NW tastes. Additional regional ingredients include locally sourced fruits (when available), Theo chocolate, Three Tree Tea matcha powder, and Papa Tony’s Hot Sauce spice powder.
Tip Top is located inside Highland Park Corner Store, a community-centric corner store in Highland Park, West Seattle. Owner Meaghan Haas immigrated from the Seattle area to New Zealand after high school and obtained her degree from University of Auckland. She sees Tip Top as a way to bring her appreciation of her time in New Zealand – and Kiwi culture – to the Seattle area. Tip Top serves ice cream 7 days a week, from 11 am-8 pm Mondays-Saturdays, and 11 am-5 pm Sundays.
Highland Park Corner Store, and Tip Top, are at 7789 Highland Park Way SW.
4:17 PM: At an invitation-only (but crowded) event under way right now, West Seattle’s troll Bruun Idun has just been “unveiled.”
As we first reported back in June, with a followup when troll-building began last week, this is one of six trolls that Danish artist Thomas Dambo is making from recycled materials and installing around the Northwest – first one was in Portland, then Bainbridge Island, now West Seattle (still to come are Issaquah, Vashon Island, and Ballard). Now that it’s been completed, its location at Lincoln Park has been revealed – right behind Colman Pool, where volunteers were still working to complete it this morning:
We took that photo after hiking in for a scheduled chance to talk briefly with the artist:
We also met John “Coyote” Halliday, a Muckleshoot Tribe artist who is contributing decorations to the troll, made primarily from bark and shells.
More photos and info to come – including the troll’s story (Dambo told us it’s meant to be “singing to the orcas”) – when we’re back from the event!
7:06 PM: Turns out Bruun Idun (“Idun” for short – pronounced like “Eden”) is playing a flute with a song for the orcas. Each troll has a poem, and Dambo read part of this one at the podium, including the line, “She played for them the orca song, to ask them where they all had gone.” Artist Coyote, meantime, explained that his creations are adorning Bruun Idun’s flute. He and Dambo had an “artist exchange” as part of this, including a visit by Coyote to Denmark, where he painted a killer whale on Dambo’s house. He and Dambo also exchanged gifts today.
This is all shown in our video of the program, which was emceed by Visit Seattle‘s Tracey Wickersham – a West Seattleite.
Guest speakers included Mayor Bruce Harrell, who talked with the artist before everyone moved to the portable podium:
The program began with a song by the Muckleshoot canoe family.
As underscored by the listing of partnerships at the end, this was a privately funded project. More information about Bruun Idun should appear soon on the nwtrolls.org website, as it has for the Portland troll Ole Bolle and the Bainbridge troll Pia. Dambo said this all was intended to happen a few years ago, but the pandemic interrupted the timeline. He has installed 121 “environmental sculptures” around the world and has more on the drawing board – even as this one was being built, he flew briefly to Austin, Texas, for meetings about a series planned next year.
P.S. As explained in our earlier interview with the artist – video above – no, they are NOT left to decompose; at some point the site host (Seattle Parks for this one) will decide when to dismantle it and recycle its components.
(Editor’s note: Troll’s name corrected post-publication to reflect that Bruun Idun is two words, not one as originally reported)
A dozen years after saving the SPD Mounted Patrol, the Seattle Police Foundation has saddled up a special fundraising campaign for the unit, which is based here in West Seattle – in a barn next to Westcrest Park.
This time, it’s not in danger of shutdown, but the SPF funds “gaps” not covered by the basic SPD budget, so to get the word out, they invited media to visit the barn.
Riding McLovin – a name bestowed by the horse’s previous owner – in our video is Sgt. Brandon Caille, who along with one officer comprises the entirety of the Mounted Patrol’s permanent unit staff – supplemented if necessary, he says, with temporarily reassigned officers from elsewhere in the department. You must of course be trained to ride. Among those who are – SPD Chief Adrian Diaz.
When we visited during the “open barn” event on Wednesday, we had just missed the chief taking a turn around the indoor riding ring. The unit currently has six horses, plus Li’l Sebastian, who is wildly popular during community appearances:
Community appearances is what the unit focuses on, in fact, says Sgt. Caille – “relational policing” is the formal term. They might visit areas, for example, where data shows there’s been an uptick in crime. A common misconception is that they do crowd control work; Sgt. Caille says actually, they don’t.
The SPF calls its campaign “Adopt-A-Horse” – donations might even eventually fund a replacement for one of the current horses, which can cost up to about $20,000. (McLovin was one of the two most-recent purchases, in 2021.) SPF stepped up to save the unit when budget cuts threatened it in 2011; three years later, the city started covering its basic funding again, but the SPF has been covering “gaps” as it does for some other units in the department. If you’re interested in donating, go here.
The nonprofit Highland Park Improvement Club‘s plan for replacing its fire-ravaged building is now in an official comment period with the city. The process was announced in Thursday’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin. It’s been more than two years since the fire and more than a year and a half since HPIC started working with local architects Wittman Estes. So where does it stand now? HPIC board president Rhonda Smith answered our questions.
Timeline for permit process? “We are in the MUP [Master Use Permit] process, which SDCI says will take 5-7 months. Providing the city gives us the permit to do the project, we most likely will see that permit coming [first quarter of] 2024.”
How long will the rebuild take? “The architect, Wittman Estes, and general contractor, Metis Construction, have stated it will take approximately 15 months to do the rebuild. This means that providing we have the funding in hand when the project is ready to start, the new building will reopen in 2025.”
Insurance on the old building only covers part of the cost of a new one, so HPIC has been fundraising. Where is that at? “We have effectively raised $1.7 million. We are working with RJZ Connections, LLC to develop a fundraising plan that can be executed in stages. We need to raise $2M more to rebuild the building. We have launched the HPIC Building Booster campaign to give our community the opportunity to help us raise funds. We are building a case statement that will help tell the story of HPIC to be shared with future private donors, foundations and agencies. We have applied for many grants, some of which we have received. We will continue to do this as we identify the grants that match our needs and purpose.”
Smith says there’s another way to get involved in addition to contributing cash: “We are looking for new community partnerships. We are building a business model for the future through the development of new community partnerships that will keep HPIC independent and self-sustaining. We will still keep some of the favorite things people loved about HPIC while adding new programming that will reach a broader community audience. If there are non-profit organizations that are seeking a home and think HPIC could be a great partner, please send an email to HPIC at email@example.com with the header PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY.”
Smith adds, “This has been a challenging project and we are working hard every day to make this rebuild a reality but we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.” Here are more ways to get involved.
As for the city’s permit-review process, this notice explains how to comment; the deadline is September 6th.
Two reader reports:
GUITARS, BIKES STOLEN: That security-camera image is from a theft in which Drew says he lost $10,000 worth of guitars and bicycles. It happened in his storage unit at 125 SW 112th but he’s casting a wide net, including West Seattle, hoping someone might spot some of the items. Here’s a full list – with more photos – of what was stolen, including contact info for Drew and for King County Sheriff’s Office investigators, if you have any information.
CAR BREAK-IN: From Cynthia: “I wanted to report my vehicle was broken into in front of the Grove on 36th overnight (Tuesday) night. They stole my car charger and didn’t even look through anything else. I filed a police report.”
Here’s what’s happening today/tonight, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar!
SPRAYPARK OPEN: 11 am-8 pm daily, Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) is open daily.
SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS: Last day for local sites where free food has been available for kids on weekdays this summer, 11:30 am-1 pm lunch, 2-3 pm snacks.
LINCOLN PARK WADING POOL OPEN: Noon-7 pm – this is the only West Seattle wading pool that stays open through Labor Day – assuming it’s a warm, mostly sunny afternoon, which is expected today. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)
COLMAN POOL OPEN: Noon-7 pm on the shore at Lincoln Park; session schedule here.
SCRABBLE CLUB: You’re invited to play 12:30-1:30 pm at Margie’s Café inside the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon).
NORTHWEST WINE ACADEMY: 1-6 pm on the north side of South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), student-produced wine by the glass or bottle.
LIVE AT EASY STREET RECORDS: In-store radio broadcast by Marco Collins, 3-7 pm, “with a special appearance by Citizen Cope.” (4559 California SW)
TROLL GOES PUBLIC: The giant troll that’s been under construction in Lincoln Park will debut at an “exclusive media unveiling” at 4 pm, and should be publicly visible after that.
VISCON CELLARS: Tonight’s your next chance to visit Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) for wine by the glass or bottle, 5-9 pm (5910 California SW).
COFFEEHOUSE MUSIC: Jim Page performs at C & P Coffee (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm.
SUMMER SUNSET SOUND BATH: 7:30 pm at Solstice Park (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW), $35.
LIVE AT THE SKYLARK: Blade Palace, Crazy Eyes, Long Shorts, doors 8 pm, music 9 pm at The Skylark, $10 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW).
Something to add to our calendar? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
WestSide Baby, the nonprofit that has long helped kids and their families in this area, wants you to know it welcomes donations and volunteers. From interim executive director Laura Skelton asked us to share this announcement:
WestSide Baby is back to regular donation and volunteer hours.
We are happy and grateful to accept donations on Tuesday (9 AM-7 PM), Wednesday (9 AM-5 PM), and Thursday (9 AM-4 PM). More info about donating items here: westsidebaby.org/donate-items
We have volunteer shifts on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays. More info and a sign-up link here: westsidebaby.org/volunteer
We ramped up our bulk diaper program in the past year, which is a new way to meet community needs. We are distributing pallets of diapers to about 35 partners on a monthly basis.
In the first half of 2023, we fulfilled about 450 orders each week. These represent specific requests from our community partners, on behalf of their individual clients.
WestSide Baby is best known for distributing diapers but that’s by no means all they handle, as you’ll see by following the donation-info link above.
6:02 AM: Good morning! It’s Friday, August 25th.
WEATHER AND SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES
Chance of rain today before sun takes over, with a high around 80. Today’s sunrise will be at 6:18 am; sunset will be at 8:03 pm.
–California SW between Admiral Way and SW College will be closed most of Saturday for the Admiral Funktion street party, scheduled for 11 am-10 pm (but setup will start earlier and breakdown will last later).
-In White Center, 16th SW will be closed most of Saturday between Roxbury and SW 100th for the WC Block Party.
-From 9 pm tonight until early Monday, Highway 518 eastbound, east of Burien, will be closed again (so if that’s your route to the airport, Southcenter, I-405, etc., you’ll need to find another way).
-One other major regional closure this weekend – Highway 520 between Seattle and Bellevue, 11 pm tonight until early Monday.
Metro – regular schedule – check here for advisories.
Water Taxi – regular schedule.
Washington State Ferries – 2-boat service. Check Vessel Watch to see where the boats are.
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):
1st Ave. S. Bridge – alternate route across the river:
Highway 99: – northbound side at Lander.
BRIDGE INFO: The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed shows whether the city’s movable bridges are opening for vessel traffic.
If you see trouble 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!
Police have found shell casings near 26th SW and SW Brandon, after 911 calls from that vicinity reporting what sounded like “dozens” of shots. Officers have told dispatch they’ve found “quite a few” casings. No word of any injuries or property damage so far. … If you have any information for police, the incident # assigned to this is 23-244852.