West Seattle, Washington
Forest-restoration work parties are typically in or near the woods. Not this one on Saturday. Volunteers came to a wide-open site on the South Seattle College Georgetown campus – one with a memorable history – to plant the future Georgetown Community Forest.
SSC (a WSB sponsor) is partnering with the non-profit SUGi Urban Forestry Project, the Duwamish Tribe, the Duwamish River Community Coalition, and volunteers from the college and community to transform what was once the Hat ‘n’ Boots gas station (see and read about it here) into the Georgetown Community Forest. The college explains that this is meant “to heal the land and the people living on it” – by improving air quality and soil health, as well as giving people “a calm space where they can immerse themselves in nature.” On Saturday, Ken Workman of the Duwamish Tribe planted the first of more than 1,300 plants installed by about 150 volunteers:
Among others who spoke at the ceremony launching the planting event were SSC’s acting president Sayumi Irey and Georgetown campus executive dean Laura Kingston:
40 different species of trees, shrubs, and groundcover – all native to this area – comprised the 1,300+ plants, planned with the Miyawaki Method, which focuses on what would grow back in the area if humans left it alone.
Other community volunteering events will be held there to help care for the site as it begins its return to foresthood. Read more about the plan here.
The first community-coalition meeting in the week ahead will be the Fauntleroy Community Association on Tuesday (February 13). The meeting is at a new time – 6 pm instead of 7 pm – and will be back at the regular location this month, the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse conference room. You can also attend online – register for that at fauntleroy.net/meetings. Major topics on this month’s agenda are familiar – the Washington State Ferries plan to replace the Fauntleroy dock, the future of the Fauntleroy YMCA, and the Lincoln Park pickleball-court plan. The ferry-dock discussion will be expanded this month, as guests from WSF are expected, including David Sowers, who heads the WSF division overseeing the project. Other topics include an update from police – at least one representative from the Southwest Precinct is usually there, and it’s a chance to ask questions or surface issues. The meeting venue is right inside the historic schoolhouse’s main entrance, at 9131 California SW.
SUNDAY REPORT: Early today, two portable restrooms were burned in fires less than a mile apart, both around 5 am. We found out about this from Greta, who lives near the one off the alley on the west side of the 3400 block of California (top photo shows the aftermath):
I’m wanting to report this to you primarily to focus on safety. There is construction happening at the home next door to us. The house is vacant and they have a Honey Bucket on site for workers. This is what was set alight. There was no lock on the door. The other fire on 51st and Dakota was also a sanican set alight. Someone is doing this in our neighborhood. Terrifying fact really.
I awoke to the noise of crackling. Then my sniffer caught the smell of the smoke. I immediately got out of bed to look out the adjoining bedroom window and there it was. A fire was burning with an unbelievable pace. The flames were at least 8ft tall. Part of the fence that was behind the Honey Bucket was already gone. Our neighbors truck with the gas tank facing the fire was parked only 2 feet from this! Incredibly it didn’t catch fire, just bubbled the paint and the plastic of the taillights. I woke my husband up immediately and called 911. The fire department was here in under 5 minutes! My husband in a flash was outside trying fast to hook back up the hose. Unfortunately from us leaving it outside there was a hole in it. We used it anyway on the fire. me holding the tightest grip over the hole, while my husband Jeff faced the flames. Very scary for what could have been an awful outcome. We are safe, the neighbors are safe, and my many thanks to our incredible Seattle firefighters. It made me quite emotional after they put the fire out and watching them drive away. Also very thankful that it started to rain. They were incredible and are incredible. I have a huge admiration for them!
So this may want to be posted for future safety in our community. There is a possible arson here. … I think it’s important to lock up these sanicans, so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen. Fires spread fast! I’m so thankful that it wasn’t next to the house!
We went out looking for the 51st/Dakota scene and found this on 51st just north of Dakota:
We have an inquiry out to SFD but haven’t heard back and at this point don’t expect to hear back until tomorrow, so we don’t have any information yet on the investigation. (There is a police report logged for the California alley fire – 24-039339.) We’ll also be asking if there’s any suspicion these are related to two fires one week ago, including one that damaged a vacant house near 36th/Oregon and was determined to have been deliberately set.
MONDAY UPDATE: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo tells us, “Our investigators consulted with crews that responded to both incidents and ruled the cause of both fires as undetermined.”
In the WSB tradition of featuring readers’ bird photos on some football-centered Sunday afternoons, we’re presenting 10 of the most recent we’ve received. Above, Cedar Waxwings photographed in Gatewood by Darwin Nordin; below, a closer look at one Cedar Waxwing, by Erin Jackson:
Two from Mark MacDonald – a Golden-crowned Kinglet at Lincoln Park:
And a Common Merganser on Alki:
Steve Bender photographed this Belted Kingfisher at Jack Block Park:
That’s where an anonymous contributor saw this soaring Bald Eagle:
Back on the ground, here’s a Mourning Dove from Jon Anderson:
From Theresa Arbow-O’Connor:
The latest pic of West Seattle’s roaming Guinea Fowl is from Gabe:
A super-size thanks to everyone who shares bird photos – firstname.lastname@example.org is the best place to send us pics (unless it’s breaking news – that, you can text to our hotline, 206-293-6302) – thank you!
The new-era City Council‘s first committee meeting happened this past week, when the Transportation Committee – chaired by District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka – convened on Tuesday morning. Before the meeting moved into public comment and presentations, Saka said his focuses will be on “preserving and maintaining our infrastructure, with a heavy focus on bridges and streets, in hopes, he said, no other community has to go through anything like the 2 1/2-year West Seattle Bridge closure. He said his other priorities will be the “safety and comfort of pedestrians,” improved transit-rider experience, climate-related issues (particularly increased electrification of transportation), equity, and the size/scope of the next transportation-funding measure.
Of the two introductory presentations made by SDOT, the one of widest interest was an explanation of the department itself, led by director Greg Spotts, who noted he’s had the job for 17 months now. Spotts said he’d done some reorganizing of SDOT management to better handle priorities. For example, toward Saka’s top priority, Spotts said Elizabeth Sheldon serves as chief infrastructure engineer. Venu Nemani, previously chief traffic engineer, is chief transportation safety officer. Shortly after arriving, Spotts noted, he’d ordered a “top to bottom” review of Vision Zero – in light of the fact that traffic deaths and serious injuries were not declining – and he said there’ll be an implementation plan in the next several months. (As an aside, he said he does not own a car.) He talked about the Seattle Transportation Plan, pulling together many separate predecessors (bicycle plan, freight plan, transit plan, etc.), and said upcoming documents will include a Bridge Asset Management Plan. He briefly ran through some of what is on SDOT’s schedule for the year ahead, including bridge seismic upgrades (in West Seattle that includes the Delridge/Oregon overpass and the Admiral Way bridges over Fairmount Ravine).
His presentation included many stats – from 500 cameras in the traffic-control center downtown, to 14,000 openings per year for the city-owned movable bridges, including the West Seattle low bridge. (Spotts noted that shipments requiring those openings include a lot of food destined for Alaska.) Another stat of interest: There are about half a million street parking spaces in the city, but “we only charge for about 12,000 of them.”
One more note of West Seattle interest – Spotts briefly mentioned the city’s involvement with Sound Transit for the West Seattle and Ballard extensions. That group, he said, also reports to Sheldon, the chief infrastructure engineer.
The presentation also touched on the SDOT budget and the “83 sources of funding” that feed into it, “more than most city departments.”
Eventually Saka brought it back to his interest in pothole-filling as a symbol of what the city can do for its residents; not only does he want to be “the king of potholes,” but he also declared his fellow committee members “pothole royalty” too, though in a more serious vein, he suggested the “underlying causes” of potholes should be examined and addressed too.
You can watch the meeting in the Seattle Channel video above, and see the “introduction to SDOT” slides here. In addition to chairing the Transportation Committee, Councilmember Saka is vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, which will meet at 9:30 am Tuesday (February 13) for the first time this year; as we previously noted, all three of the city’s public-safety chiefs (CARE’s Amy Smith, SFD’s Harold Scoggins, SPD’s Adrian Diaz) are on the agenda to provide overviews of their departments.
Big turnout this morning for the first-ever Family Disco Party, to benefit West Seattle Cooperative Preschools and to give families some fun together time before all eyes turn to the Super Bowl. Spinning the tunes for the hourlong party in South Seattle College‘s Brockey Center was DJ Baby Van Beezly – herself a coop-preschool parent:
Party proceeds will support coop preschool scholarships and parent-education programming,
We’re now exactly three months away from West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2024 – WSCGSD is always on the second Saturday in May, and that’s May 11 this year. WSCGSD is not one big sale, but many sales large and small all over the peninsula, in garages and yards and courtyards and community rooms and schools and businesses and driveways and … It’s the one annual event we coordinate, dating back to 2008 (three years after it was founded by a nonprofit in the spirit of increasing community connection). We’re planning to open registration for the official WSCGSD map on April 1, so if you’re thinking of having a sale, watch for that announcement. (Here’s our coverage of last year’s WSCGSD.)
(Traffic camera at California/Alaska)
It’s that one day of the year when one football game gets massive attention. But there’s more happening today than football, commercials, snacks, and drinks. Here’s what’s on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
FAMILY DISCO PARTY: Be part of the first-ever all-ages Family Disco Party presented by West Seattle Cooperative Preschools, with a DJ and (foam) glow sticks! 10 am-11 am at Brockey Center on the south end of the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) campus. The aim is to “get the wiggles out before The Big Game,” organizers say. $10 per person 1 year old and up – tickets available online. Campus café open before, during, and after for coffee and treats!
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, the market is open as usual between SW Alaska and SW Oregon on California, offering winter vegetables and fruit as well as cheese, fish, meat, baked goods, condiments, fresh-cooked food, beverages (from cider to kombucha to beer/wine), nuts, candy, more! Here’s today’s vendor list.
FREE ‘FAT SUNDAY’ LUNCH AND CONCERT: Don’t wait until Tuesday to celebrate – Admiral Church invites you over for a free New Orleans-style lunch and jazz concert, starting at 11:30 am. (4320 SW Hill)
Planning something that belongs on our calendar – one-time or recurring? Please email us the info – email@example.com – thank you!
By the numbers, Roosevelt HS looked to be a formidable opponent for the West Seattle High School boys’ district debut – undefeated in Metro League play, and with an 8-game winning streak overall. Instead, the Wildcats sent the visiting Rough Riders home Friday night with a 21-point loss, 83-62. WSHS #23, senior Pawlose Aschalew (top photo), owned the night with 27 points, starting with a 3-pointer half a minute in (first of his four 3’s). Next-highest point total for WSHS was #0, junior Alex Pierce:
Third was #2, sophomore Sully Janiwade, with 14:
Head coach Dan Kriley‘s Wildcats led throughout the game, but only really opened it up toward the end.
At the half, WSHS was up 35-29, and then throughout the second half, Roosevelt’s cold shooting and WSHS’s superior rebounding enabled them to just keep building until it was too late for an adequate comeback challenge. About half their winning margin came from foul shot in the last few minutes, plus a triumphant dunk by Pierce that capped it off. Next up for the Wildcats as the postseason continues is Bellevue HS, 8 pm Tuesday (February 13) at Sammamish HS (right after the WSHS girls’ game).