UPDATE: I-5 getting back to normal after VP motorcade closures and officer’s fall

2:15 PM: Just a reminder if you missed it in our morning traffic roundup: Vice President Kamala Harris is in the area for another hour and a half or so, and that’s not the only reason to avoid I-5 – there’s also a collision on I-5 northbound at Michigan that’s led to some snarling both ways. As for the vice president, she’s reported to be at a fundraiser in Medina right now, after a speech in Georgetown, but will be headed back to Boeing Field for a scheduled 3:30-ish departure, and when the motorcade is in motion, that will again temporarily shut down traffic.

3 PM: The aforementioned collision has SB I-5 closed at Michigan. No word if that’ll result in a vice presidential detour getting back to Boeing Field.

3:30 PM: SB I-5 has reopened. And we have details of the incident from Bellevue PD via Twitter/X: One of their officers, while on detail because of the VP visit, fell off the Michigan ramp – an estimated 50- to 60-foot fall – but survived and was “conscious and alert” when taken to Harborview.

3:46 PM: Traffic advisory indicates the motorcade’s headed back this way now.

4:10 PM: WSDOT says highways have all reopened,

42 Replies to "UPDATE: I-5 getting back to normal after VP motorcade closures and officer's fall"

  • mem August 15, 2023 (3:16 pm)

    Avoid Highland Parkway/ Holden/ 9th- what a mess!

  • bradley August 15, 2023 (3:34 pm)

    Apparently a motorcycle officer fell (?) off the Michigan St off ramp onto I-5.  Hope (s)he is ok.

    • WSB August 15, 2023 (3:50 pm)

      That info’s in the story. He was described as “conscious and alert” when taken to HMC despite the 50- to 60-foot (estimated) fall.

    • Wear your helmet August 15, 2023 (4:25 pm)

      Assuming the officer had their motorcycle helmet on and that’s what saved his life in the fall potentially! Scary!

  • Kimball August 15, 2023 (5:46 pm)

    In my opinion the vice president of the United States should have gone to Hawaii and help the people there, like passing out water bottles or making sandwiches and other meals for the people now homeless or setting up cots of them to sleep on or cleaning up places they are houses all the people. And the president should stop going on vacation during a disaster and help the people who he is supposed to be helping and serving. I hope that the motorcycle police 👮‍♂️ is on the road to s quick recovery ❤️‍🩹.

    • WSB August 15, 2023 (6:00 pm)

      According to the NY Times this afternoon, the president of the United States is going to Hawai’i.

      • Alki resident August 15, 2023 (6:49 pm)

        Way too late. They don’t want him there. My friends lost everything . He has no reason to show up at this point. 

        • FallaciousArgument August 15, 2023 (8:26 pm)

          The statement that “they don’t want him there” feels, at best, anecdotal. Do you have any evidence or data to indicate that is a truthful statement? Cheers!

          • Alki resident August 15, 2023 (10:20 pm)

            My friend lost everything to the fire. They’re staying with strangers on another island. Would you like their name and speak to them to check out their story? Do you need fact checkers too? 

          • waikikigirl August 16, 2023 (6:44 am)

            @Falla…:   “feels, at best, anecdotal. Do you have any evidence or data to indicate that is a truthful statement? Cheers!”   Did you not read every word in Alki Residents comment? Alki Resident said “My friends” not the people of Maui, they said “My friends” so nothing anecdotal about their comment. And I agree, its too late to show face now, just let FEMA, Red Cross, and all the other agencies get their jobs done without useless distractions.

          • WestSeattleBadTakes August 16, 2023 (11:51 am)

            In other words, the definition of an anecdote.

        • shotinthefoot August 16, 2023 (8:12 am)

          Wow, Alki Resident. Just wow. 

          • Alki resident August 16, 2023 (12:20 pm)

            Shot in the foot-wow just wow back to you

        • 22blades August 16, 2023 (12:35 pm)

          Bringing in a Presidential contingent while they are still trying to count bodies, house & feed the victims would be an extremely counterproductive event. If you didn’t experience & understand the disruption in Seattle with the VP in town, you certainly wouldn’t grasp what an event would do in Maui. As the residents there are quoted, the official response has been inadequate. They don’t need a media stunt. They need basic survival goods & services.

    • momosmom August 15, 2023 (7:04 pm)

      @Kimball I agree whole heartedly with you! The President or even the VP should had been to Maui at least, at least 5 days ago if not sooner…that fire has killed so many American’s and neither one has shown they care. SMH!

      • Alki resident August 15, 2023 (8:07 pm)

        Yep you’re right. The Island doesn’t want them there. Hundreds are still missing, nobody’s getting help from services just from other Islanders on other Islands. My friend works for Matson and Matson is helping with what resources they can. 

      • Ron Swanson August 15, 2023 (8:31 pm)

        A comment on a post about the mild havoc wreaked by a VP visit to a perfectly functional city on a random weekday suggesting POTUS should show up in a complete logistical nightmare disaster area with multiple jets, security people, motorcades, roadblocks, and pull local emergency personnel off of emergency duties?  I’m hoping this is just trolling.

    • Anne August 15, 2023 (7:28 pm)

      What an inane statement-the President IS doing what he should be doing. Why in heavens name should Maui have to deal with all a Presidential visit entails right now. Don’t you think their resources are already stretched thin? Let them focus on finding the missing, caring for their citizens- not using precious time showing the President around. There’s plenty of time for him to visit – it’s  just been a week- let some time pass. Do you really think the  only place the President can get all the current information is at the White House? 

    • Neighbor August 16, 2023 (4:24 pm)

      You can’t be serious.  The VP is one person.  She can do a lot more good raising funding and allocating resources than she can on a media stunt like handling out water bottles.  Same for the president.  They can’t be everywhere at once.  And the president is still working when on “vacation”.

  • R2 August 15, 2023 (5:48 pm)

    Scary! Glad to hear they were conscious and alert” after such a fall! I can’t tell from the story if they simply fell off themselves, or if they went over while on their motorcycle. Either way, that’s a hell of a fall!

    • WSB August 15, 2023 (5:55 pm)

      The motorcycle was unattended on the ramp after the fall, radio traffic suggested.

      • Question Authority August 15, 2023 (5:59 pm)

        Many times only the rider goes over the rail as seating position puts you at that level.  Quite common in similar situations historically.

        • WSB August 15, 2023 (9:53 pm)

          So far none of the regional media has any further details than what Bellevue PD tweeted earlier, so the circumstances have not been described publicly so far as I can tell.

        • R2 August 16, 2023 (9:43 am)

          Makes sense. One of the photos accompanying the story on KOMO News shows a police bike on I-5, but it looked to be in pretty good shape for a fall.

  • onion August 15, 2023 (6:17 pm)

    That explains the extra police on the Michigan on-ramp to i-5 and the off-ramp from i-5 to the viaduct around 11 this a.m. I was wondering.

  • simon August 15, 2023 (6:20 pm)

    Honestly, it’s outrageous the amount of disruption caused for such a pointless speech? Took me almost 2 hours to commute back from work from Bellevue to West Seattle. The whole thing seemed so disorganized and careless for residents. Not looking forward to any future visits.That being said, hopefully that cop is safe and sound.

  • Graciano August 15, 2023 (7:24 pm)

    I’m with Kimball on this, The VP should have gone to Maui. But No, she has to fly into Seattle, tell a bunch of working class people about climate and how we have suffered through a deadly heat wave, then say they got the economy under control…, what’s the interest rate at ?? almost 3x of the last admin. Back to the VP flying out . How much CO2 does that jet and all the security vehicles produce?  Maybe she will use some of that money she raised and pay for the Police officers injuries. I hope the Officer makes a full recovery.

    • Neighbor August 16, 2023 (4:37 pm)

      You saw the traffic jam here yesterday.  You think Maui needs that disruption for a media stunt?  The airport in Maui should focus on delivering aid and evacuating survivors.

  • Peter S. August 15, 2023 (8:30 pm)

    I realize there are some realities involved with transporting a VP/VIP and their entourage around and “coach fare” on a regularly scheduled flight is not a practical option, but there’s some irony in flying the VP into Seattle, which typically entails a C-32A (US Air Force version of B-757), on a fundraiser and to discuss climate change.  Aviation accounts for 30% of worldwide carbon emissions.

    • Alki resident August 16, 2023 (2:31 pm)


    • Neighbor August 16, 2023 (4:39 pm)

      How much of global emissions does this flight account for?  By giving the speech did Kamala Harris advance the idea of reducing carbon emissions?  Did her speech offset the emissions for her flight?  It’s never as simple as you think.

  • ABC August 15, 2023 (8:54 pm)

    Anne is right. Imagine the grief the VP would get if she had arrived in Hawaii today:  she’d be accused of grandstanding, getting in the way of the first responders, and slowing down help for the residents of Lahaina. As it is, anyone here who’s complaining about the current President or the VP is going to find fault with whatever action they take, so complain away. 

  • Wseattleite August 15, 2023 (9:24 pm)

    I don’t really have an opinion if the Pres or VP should be in Hawaii, I think it is more important for people that actually do things to be there at this point. I do think it is asinine that we pay for these monstrous efforts for our elected public servants to try and stay in power, which at the end of the day is the ultimate goal of politics in our country. All these fund raisers and campaign stops are not what I want my elected representatives doing. I want them to do their job. The money we all pay and the distractions from real work these election drives.produce are massive. All so candidates can fluff themselves up and distort perceptions. I find it disgusting.  I do hope the policeman heals. He was at least doing his job. 

  • Anywhere but here August 15, 2023 (9:34 pm)

    Thinking the state of Hawaii should spend time and resources on a Presidential or VP visit to Maui right now is a good idea lacks all kinds of logic. Seriously misplaced outrage.

    • shotinthefoot August 16, 2023 (10:25 am)

      AGREED. It seems people who hate our current administration will try to find any fault with them – regardless of logic. They’re bad because they’re not there. They’d be vilified if they went there. There is no winning with the maga crowd. 

      • Alki resident August 16, 2023 (7:31 pm)

        Yes there is winning. It couldn’t be that difficult to make a speech on national tv, he didn’t have to be present but that didn’t even happen. 

        • Shotinthefoot August 17, 2023 (6:49 am)

          Maybe he should have gone and thrown paper towels at them, that sounds more your speed. 

        • Shotinthefoot August 17, 2023 (7:03 am)

          Oh, and get your facts straight- he has gone on national tv. And is going to visit Monday. But I guess none of that is good enough for Maga country. 

  • WSB August 15, 2023 (9:41 pm)

    For anyone interested in specifics on what kind of help the feds are offering so far, here’s a detailed update from Hawai’i’s main newspaper:

    On Sunday, I watched the live briefing with the governor, Maui mayor, and others. The heads of FEMA and the SBA were there and spoke briefly, as did the head of the US Fire Administration (which is part of FEMA). Was that enough at that early stage? Only the people of Maui can say.

  • Scarlett August 16, 2023 (2:02 pm)

    Yes, only Maui residents know if the response has been sufficient, but there is also the response from the two leaders of our country.  Instead of trawling for cash in affluent Medina, why didn’t VP Harris skip it and hold a press conference detailing the steps that are being taken to address the tragedy?  I am not one who expected either to jet off to Maui, however there has been a lack of urgency, publicly at least, from both Biden and Harris.   It’s okay, Democrats, to admit this – no one is going to accuse you of being an evil Republican.  The death toll has already exceeded that of the Camp Fire in N. California, something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.   

Sorry, comment time is over.