day : 15/05/2024 14 results

FOLLOWUP: Almost a month later, SUV still on West Seattle beach

It’s been almost a month since somebody drove that Jeep Compass onto the rocky beach between Seola and The Arroyos. (Here’s our original report; police later told us the vehicle’s owner belatedly reported it stolen.) While other vehicle-in-water cases have resulted in relatively rapid removal, this one is still there. Area residents Robin, awho sent the photos above and below, has been tracking the situation, and campaigning to get something done about it.

Most recently, Robin filed an illegal-dumping report via Find It Fix It. Seattle Public Utilities, which runs the illegal-dumping program, referred it to Seattle Parks. But Parks closed the ticket, telling Robin in a follow-up call that it’s not on Parks property. Meantime, it’s not just beached, it’s in and out of the water as the tide fluctuates:

That photo is from Tim, who was startled to see the semi-submerged SUV while out paddling last Saturday. The question remains, who’s ultimately accountable for getting it off the beach? In our most-recent round of inquiries more than a week ago, the state Ecology Department – which had responded to the scene early on, to remove fuel from the vehicle – said it was a “police matter” and that local law enforcement needed to work with the beach owners. After that, we asked SPD where it stood, and they repeated what had been mentioned before – tow trucks couldn’t get close enough to remove it: “There have been discussions with the Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard and others, but it remains in the water for now.”

That it does.

Alki Point for All suggests alternative vision for ‘Healthy Street’

(WSB photo, late Tuesday afternoon, Beach Drive alongside Constellation Park)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Members of the Alki Point for All group tried last night to focus on what they propose, in addition to what they oppose.

The latter – the permanent features planned for the Beach Drive stretch of the city-designated Alki Point Healthy Street, particularly the foot/wheels path that will replace some parking spaces.

The former – traffic-calming alternatives such as street art.

Though SDOT has said repeatedly that construction is imminent, they are hopeful they can find a way to stop it. “I know we can do this,” said organizer Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail toward the end of the hastily called meeting at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), attended by 20+ people.

Another coalition member, longtime West Seattle architect and community advocate Vlad Oustimovitch, said, “I am absolutely certain there is a a way almost everyone can be accommodated in a plan and feel good about it – this (SDOT plan) is (not it) – there is a way to step back and look at it.” He offered examples of street redesign including large-scale pavement art.

Sandstrom added, “We’d like to see the STREET CLOSED sign replaced with WELCOME TO (the park) … GO SLOW … we think there is a version of the Healthy Street that meets the greater (good).”

Other coalition members introduced by Sandstrom included longtime volunteer responders from Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network. They explained that they are the ones whose work is potentially most impacted by the removal of shore-side parking, as they haul equipment such as sandwich boards and tape to beaches where harbor seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals strand.

Sandstrom stressed that they are not just concerned about their own access; she said SDOT offered them their “own private loading zone.” They are worried about all the other people who they say flock to the area for activities such as storm watching and tidepooling as well as whale watching and “seal-sitting.” Retirement homes bring vans full of people to park and enjoy the view, she said. “It’s important to a lot of people for many reasons, for generations.”

For the purposes of her organization – which has interpretive signage at 130 sites along the west coast of North America, where whales – especially Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales – might be seen. She estimates having helped thousands of people watch and learn about them from Constellation Park.

Victoria Nelson from Seal Sitters explained that the volunteer-powered organization has a “binding agreement” with the federal agency NOAA to tend to marine mammals that show up on the beach, alive or dead. “We are not just looking at seals – they are an indicator species on the Sound – if they’re ill they could be a danger to the community.” They partner with the organization SR3 to rescue and treat ailing animals.

(File photo of Constellation Park tidepooling, courtesy Alki Point for All)

Then there are the Seattle Aquarium‘s volunteer beach naturalist events at Constellation Park during low-low tides (the Aquarium is not part of its effort but local resident Buzz Shaw, who said he helped launch the program and was long involved with it, is). Those draw hundreds, Sandstrom said: “People are making connections to the Sound that can inspire conservation.”

She then recapped the four-year history of the Alki Point Healthy Street (Beach Drive and Alki Avenue, west of 63rd to where they meet at the point). Though the city touted surveys showing support for banning through traffic on the stretch, Sandstrom and other coalition members contend, the city never asked whether the plan – originally a Keep Moving Street early in the pandemic, now a Healthy Street – should be implemented, only how it should be implemented. Late last year “we were all surprised when they revealed a final design calling for the removal of 62 parking spaces,” she said, explaining that she didn’t feel she could sit back and watch it happen, because the changes already have depressed turnout when whales are present. People see the STREET CLOSED signage and turn around – “how is the impact being measured?”

Nelson said she originally was assured “no legal parking would be removed.” (This was reiterated on the city website, as shown in our February report.) Without the water-side parking on that stretch, she said, volunteers can’t “retreat to our car within line of sight” of the animals they’re watching. And people seeking to pull over and enjoy the view for a moment won’t be able to.

The coalition believes the decision wasn’t made with public comment aside from that early survey, and they’re skeptical about its participation – “58 percent residents, not a representative sample of who uses Alki Point.”

And yet, Oustimovitch said access to Constellation Park is important for people around the region. “It’s an entry drug to environmentalism.” That’s when he showed the example of a street in Asheville, North Carolina, with “illustrated pavement,” saying that immediately signifies it’s “public domain” – and yet the parking remains (added: here’s a safety study of similar projects) . “We have a whole arts community … that I’m sure would be really happy to be involved.” Maybe, he suggested, paint an “oversized octopus” onto the street. But instead, in his view – which includes 45 years of urban design work – “SDOT is erring on the side of brutal engineering options.”

They did get an audience with the city two weeks ago, Sandstrom said, but even after their presentation, like the one they gave last night, the department said it’s “going to proceed with construction as planned … and see what problems arise” (if any). Sandstrom said SDOT liked the “Welcome” sign ideas – “they’re going to put them right next to the ‘Street Closed’ signs.” The mayor’s office also told them they intended to let SDOT go ahead, she said, and evaluate it after a year. Nonetheless, she said, the coalition wants to figure out how to “halt construction, open the discussion, arrive at solutions that meet the needs of the wider community.” But time’s running out, she acknowledged, if they can’t generate “a lot of noise and heat” to convince the city to hit the brakes.

The subsequent Q/A and discussion was wide-ranging. Not everyone present was a supporter; one attendee said the coalition should be concerned about 15 storm drains that carry automotive fluid and debris into the Sound, unfiltered. She and Nelson engaged in a back and forth, with Nelson ultimately suggesting they could and should work together on a “surgical” solution to the road’s problems, not the planned blanket restrictions. (Sandstrom at one point addressed those who’ve said to her “how dare I be a conservationist and promote the use of cars … if there was another way to get (to Alki Point) but we’re not there yet … better thing is to give more people the chance to see (the whales) in their home.”)

Another person said he lives in the Alki Point area and was opposed to the Healthy Street restrictions until he saw how well they were working to calm the area, which had historically been a magnet for driver gatherings, partying, littering, and racing (as we reported in 2020, local police acknowledged the street restrictions were a way to solve that recurring problem). So he spoke repeatedly in favor of proceeding with the city’s plan, including declaring, “We’re talking about the convenience of parking for humans vs, the environment.”

Some suggested alternatives – what about closing the street at night and leaving it open all day? What about making it a one-way street? Sandstrom said they would love the chance to work with local residents on solutions “if we could just convince (the city) to go back to the table.” Another supporter warned that once the parking’s gone, “it’s never coming back – it’s gone forever . the only way to stop this thing, is to stop this thing.”

But how?

There may be legal criteria that would be an argument against restrictions, it was suggested – denying access to the shoreline? Thwarting specific educational uses of the waterfront? Legal action is possible, agreed Sandstrom, “some members of our group might be in favor” – but, she stressed, they strongly prefer to make progress through “persuasion.” But respectful persuasion, no demonstrations, sit-ins, picketing, etc. – “real discussions between real people is what I want to foster.”

Another attendee suggested that the city is “picking the wrong place, the wrong Healthy Street to advance … pitting people who care about good things (against each other).” And one who said she’d been in West Seattle a year after previously living in Fall City and bringing schoolchildren here at low tide noted that she knows people who have been scared away from the park by the “street closed” signage.

After two hours, the meeting ended with Sandstrom reminding attendees about their online petition and other potential action steps, inviting anyone interested in working with them to let them know.

Brown water in Junction, Admiral

Two reports of West Seattle brown water late today – one from The Junction, one from Admiral. The Junction tipster says the city told them it’s definitely hydrant testing; no incidents on the Seattle Public Utilities water-trouble map, so that may well be the cause in Admiral too. But if it happens to you, please report to SPU – 206-386-1800. (What discolors the water is sediment disturbed in the lines by activity such as hydrant use; it’s primarily rust.)

Seattle Public Schools closures/consolidations? Here’s the date for the district’s West Seattle meeting about ‘well-resourced schools’ concept

When announcing that its plan for possible school closures/consolidations was getting closer, Seattle Public Schools said it would have a series of community meetings in May/June. Now the list of dates/times is out, including Saturday, June 1, 10:30 am at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). As reported after the SPS board’s latest meeting, they’re only considering closing elementary schools to create “a system of well-resourced schools,” but that could mean 20 closures citywide. The district is offering this form for RSVPs and questions. Exactly what they’ll present isn’t clear, as the specific list of possible closures/consolidations isn’t expected to be given to the board before June 10th.

Delridge Farmers’ Market returns this Saturday

(WSB photo, Delridge Farmers’ Market, May 2023)

If you haven’t already seen this in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – the Delridge Farmers’ Market is returning this year, for five months of Saturday sessions, starting this weekend (May 18). We just received the full announcement:

The Delridge Farmers Market, a cornerstone of this Seattle neighborhood, is proud to announce its highly anticipated fourth season, from May 18th to October 26th, 2024. This vibrant community market is organized by African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) and prioritizes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) entrepreneurship and access to fresh, healthy, and culturally relevant foods in Southwest Seattle.

Nestled at 9241 18th Ave SW, between SW Cambridge St and SW Roxbury St, the market welcomes locals and visitors every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. It offers a diverse array of locally sourced produce, flowers, prepared food from global chefs, artisan goods, and more. The market is spearheaded by ACHD, a Black-women-led nonprofit serving King County’s African Diaspora. Bilan Aden, Vice President of ACHD, emphasized the market’s role as a social and economic nexus, stating, “We are proud to cultivate a welcoming market that supports our small businesses. We look forward to seeing everyone come together and support our local vendors.”

The Delridge Farmers Market is a vital resource, bridging the gap in this neighborhood’s access to healthy produce and resources. In 2023, over 25,000 pounds of free produce and over $33,000 worth of basic needs (i.e. diapers, hygiene and personal care products, etc.) were distributed to families in need. Additionally, health and wellness pop-ups, vaccine clinics, blood pressure checks, and health education workshops are available.

In alignment with its mission of inclusivity, the market provides free produce bags and accepts various forms of food assistance, including SNAP/EBT, Fresh Bucks, and WIC/Senior FMNP. Additionally, the Kid Bucks Program ensures every child attending the market receives a $5 voucher to spend on nutritious food. The Delridge Farmers Market invites everyone to celebrate local businesses, foster community connections, and support a healthier, more equitable Southwest Seattle.

For more information about the Delridge Farmers Market or African Community Housing & Development, visit their website at achdo.org/delridgefarmersmarket.

On its opening day this Saturday, the market is also part of the One Seattle Day of Service, and Mayor Harrell is expected to visit in the early going.

More summer-music news! Admiral Neighborhood Association sets concert dates and reveals new series name

(WSB photo, July 2023 Admiral concert crowd)

In addition to the West Seattle Summer Fest music lineup announced this morning by the Junction Association, we have more summer concert news, this time from last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association gathering. The longrunning concert series is now AMP – Admiral Music in the Parks! They’re still on Thursday nights – three this year, July 18, July 25, and August 1; Hiawatha is out of play this year due to construction, so the venues will be Hamilton Viewpoint, Belvedere Park, and California Place Park. They haven’t finalized the performer lineup yet. (ANA also will present music as part of the August 24th Admiral Funktion block party, and the organization also is now coordinating the West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade, led by Megan Erb. All these events welcome volunteer help and donations/sponsorships!)

DEVELOPMENT: Teardown time for long-vacant Highland Park house

Thanks for the tips. This is the site of a long-awaited demolition in Highland Park – one of the vacant houses at 9th/Henderson, the subject of numerous complaints as well as fire calls. It was originally among the holdings of the late prolific real-estate investor Harvey Rowe but most recently, records show, it changed hands again three months ago, attributed to foreclosure. The status of permit applications for a 12-townhouse development on the 13,000+-square-foot site isn’t clear – they were originally filed almost two years ago before the ownership change; there are townhouse proposals for the parcels to the north, too.

Months-long closure of Fairmount Avenue part of Admiral Way Bridge project plan

As promised, last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association community gathering brought new information about the Admiral Way Bridge earthquake-strengthening project – one of two seismic retrofits planned in West Seattle this year (the other, the Delridge/Oregon foot/bike overpass, is already under way). An SDOT rep, Dr. Matthew Howard, was at the meeting. Though ANA was not able to display his slide deck, we received a copy from SDOT (see it here, with selected slides below). First, a bit of background – as noted previously, this bridge is actually two bridges:

At the time of our most-recent update, published in March 2023, SDOT said the project would be completed this year. That timeline has slid a bit – they’re now expecting to start in June, but with an expected duration of up to nine months, it’ll stretch into 2025.

The points that generated the most discussion at the meeting involved the traffic effects expected while the work is under way – including a total closure of Fairmount Avenue beneath the bridge(s), for the entirety of the project:

The Fairmount closure drew more interest than the lane and bridge closures planned up top. Detour plans are yet to be finalized, Howard said, so he promised to get back to the group with more information about those. Same goes, he said, for neighbors on the streets closest to the bridge – they’ll get route plans but not until the work is close to starting.

He also was asked about the contractor and cost and said neither was finalized yet. (However, the city’s bidding website says the project has been awarded to Max J. Kuney Co., total base price $7.1 million.)

P.S. We’ll report on the rest of the ANA meeting’s toplines – primarily focused on the summer events the group is presenting – later.

MUSIC: See the West Seattle Summer Fest 2024 main-stage lineup!

(2023 photo by Paul Weatherman, Summer Fest stage/beer garden area on California north of Oregon)

Now just under two months until the biggest West Seattle party of the year – Summer Fest! It’s presented by the West Seattle Junction Association, Friday-Sunday, July 12-14 this year, and WSJA has just released the main-stage music schedule. Again this year, the main stage will be on California north of Oregon, with performances Friday and Saturday (Sunday, that’s where you’ll find the Farmers’ Market). Here’s the lineup!

FRIDAY

3:00 Quid Quo
4:00 Bexley
5:00 Low Hums
6:00 Angry Blackmen
7:00 The Little Lies
8:00 La Fonda
9:00 Girl Trouble
10:00 The Long Winters

SATURDAY

11:00 Mode Music Studios Showcase
12:00 School of Rock
1:00 NOVACHROME
2:00 Bouquets
3:00 Society of the Silver Cross
4:00 Frond
5:00 Johnny Nails
6:00 Chimurenga Renaissance
7:00 M.Krebs
8:00 Bowie/Rex & His Boogie Army
9:00 Walking Papers
10:00 Sonny & the Sunsets

The festival also will include a smaller stage, plus vendors, food/drink, an expanded kids’ area, and more – we’ll bring you more updates in the weeks ahead!

12 options for your West Seattle Wednesday

(Caspian Tern and Crow at Alki, photographed by James Tilley)

Here’s what’s up for the rest of today/tonight, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

LOCAL YARN STORES TOUR: Seattle Yarn (2701 California SW) is participating again this year!

DINE-OUT FUNDRAISER: Get food from MOD Pizza at Westwood Village today and part of the proceeds go to White Center Heights Elementarythis flyer explains.

TODDLER READING TIME: 10:30 am Wednesdays at Paper Boat Booksellers (6040 California SW).

FIX-IT WORKSHOP: DO fix what IS broke, to reconfigure the saying. Weekly event, 5:30-7:30 pm at West Seattle Tool Library (4408 Delridge Way SW, northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center).

WEST SEATTLE KIWANIS HOSTS STATE SENATOR: 6 pm dinner meeting of the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle features State Sen. Joe Nguyen, at Great American Diner and Bar (4752 California SW). All welcome – please RSVP to Denis at 206-601-4136 or dsapiro@live.com. “There will be a question and answer period. Attendees are encouraged to arrive prior 6 PM to order off the regular menu.”

FREE ART CLASS: Watercolor mixed-media class, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), 6-8 pm.

FREE GROUP RUNS: The weekly West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW; WSB sponsor) group run welcomes all levels, 6:15 pm.

TRIVIA x 4: Four places to play tonight. At 6 pm, Locust Cider (2820 Alki SW) offers triviaLarry’s Tavern (3405 California SW) hosts Wednesday-night trivia starting at 7:30 pm … Quiz Night begins at 8 pm at Beveridge Place Pub (6413 California SW) … and at 8:30 pm, trivia with Phil T at Talarico’s (4718 California SW).

LISTENING PARTY AT EASY STREET RECORDS: Hear The Avett Brothers’ new album, 6 pm. (4559 California SW)

LIVE MUSIC AT THE LOCOL: 6:30 pm. 21+. Rotating performer slate. (7902 35th SW)

MUSIC BINGO: Play weekly at The Good Society (California/Lander), 7 pm.

SKYLARK OPEN MIC: 7:30 pm signups for West Seattle’s longest-running open mic. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

If you’re planning a presentation, meeting, performance, reading, tour, fundraiser, sale, discussion, etc., and it’s open to the community, please send us info so we can get it onto West Seattle’s only comprehensive event calendar! westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

WHALE SIGHTING: Humpback off West Seattle

8:57 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the alert – a baleen whale (gray or humpback, generally) is northbound off Brace Point, “very close to shore.” Let us know if you see it!

10:28 AM: Kersti says it’s a humpback, now off Constellation Park.

TRAFFIC, TRANSIT, ROAD WORK, WEATHER: Wednesday FYIs

6:01 AM: Good morning! It’s Wednesday, May 15.

WEATHER + SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES

Partly sunny, high in the low 70s. Today’s sunrise was at 5:31 am; sunset will be at 8:41 pm.

ROAD-WORK ALERTS

*SDOT says the permanent Highland Park Way/Holden signals are now working. But they have to repair the sidewalk at the intersection’s northwest corner, restripe the road, and rebuild the curb ramps to fix accessibility issues.

*PSE’s Beach Drive gas-pipeline project could start this week.

*SDOT’s Delridge pedestrian-bridge earthquake-safety project continues, with narrowing at Delridge/Oregon:

WEEKEND ADVANCE ALERT

Harbor and Alki Avenues will be closed approximately 8-11 am Sunday morning for the West Seattle 5K.

TRANSIT NOTES

Metro today – Regular schedule; check for advisories here.

Water Taxi today – Regular schedule. Check the real-time map if you need to see where the boat is. (ADDED LATE: The Water Taxi *is* running late tonight for the Rolling Stones concert.)

Washington State Ferries today – The usual 2 boats on the Triangle Route. Check WSF alerts for last-minute changes. Use the real-time map to see where your ferry is.

SPOTLIGHT TRAFFIC CAMERAS

Low bridge: Open.

Delridge cameras: Besides the one below (Delridge/Orchard), cameras are also at Delridge/Genesee, Delridge/Juneau, Delridge/Henderson, Delridge/Oregon, and video-only (so you have to go to the map), Delridge/Holden and Delridge/Thistle.

High Bridge – Here’s 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:

Highway 99: – northbound side at Lander:

MORE TRAFFIC CAMS: All functioning traffic cams citywide are here; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are on this WSB page.

BRIDGE INFO: The @SDOTBridges feed on X (ex-Twitter) shows whether the city’s movable bridges are open for vessel traffic. (SDOT says it’s working on the low-bridge absence from the feed.)

If you see a problem on the bridges/streets/paths/water, please text or call our hotline (when you can do that safely, and after you’ve reported to authorities if they’re not already on scene) – 206-293-6302. Thank you!

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: 1 person shot on Harbor Avenue, after gunfire on Beach Drive

12:46 AM: Police are arriving in the 1100 block of Harbor Avenue, where a man is reported to have been shot in the leg. The four suspects are said to have fled southbound on Harbor in a black Acura MDX with no plates and tinted windows. Police are investigating whether this is related to a report that someone was shot at on Beach Drive by a black SUV with four people inside.

(Reader photo via text, Harbor Avenue scene)

12:49 AM: Officers just told dispatch they have found several casings at the Harbor Avenue scene. They’re closing the street in both directions while they investigate.

(Reader photo via text, Harbor Avenue scene)

12:53 AM: Police told dispatch they now do believe the two are related. The black Acura is reported to have one headlight out. Officers say they’ve found 23 casings; SFD is treating the injured person, who they say has “minor injuries to the ankle.” The Beach Drive gunfire location, meantime, is described as near Andover.

1:04 AM: Officers investigating the Beach Drive report say they’ve found one casing so far, in the 4000 block. … Minutes later, a second one near Carroll (Weather Watch Park cross-street).

1:24 AM: Now the Beach Drive investigation is “up to five casings.” Meantime, the Harbor Avenue victim is reported to have had injuries so relatively minor that he declined to be taken to a hospital.

Former high-level SDOT manager departs Councilmember Rob Saka’s staff

After less than four months, former high-level SDOT manager Heather Marx is no longer working in District 1 City Councilmember Rob Saka‘s office. This was revealed by an auto-response message local community leaders received earlier this week after CC’ing Marx on email to Saka. We asked him about it at Tuesday night’s public-safety forum in South Park; he would only say, “Not going to comment on personnel matters.” That’s similar to a response we received from a council-staff spokesperson at day’s end, that “Heather Marx is no longer employed with the Seattle City Council. We can’t comment further on personnel matters at this time, though.” Marx, a West Seattle resident, had been serving as policy adviser, a role in which her SDOT background had been considered important, since Saka chairs the council’s Transportation Committee and is also leading the full-council Select Committee vetting the transportation levy. Marx led the West Seattle Bridge repair project 2020-2022 and then worked for SPD for a year and a half before joining Saka’s staff. Her online resume now describes her as self-employed.