West Seattle, Washington
A West Seattle man who has given to the community is now hoping he can get a helping hand.
What Scott Dolfay is dealing with is a side effect of the pandemic. In short, he was unable to evict renters who he says trashed the house he was renting to them, not only falling into arrears on rent, but refusing him access for inspection. But there’s more to the story than “aggrieved landlord.” And he’s not asking for money – he’s asking for cleanup help this weekend.
His own previous community work, in fact, involved a different kind of cleanup. We reported here four years ago on Dolfay’s ongoing work at Seola Pond, organizing restoration of a site that he described as a “de-facto community park.” With little fanfare, he managed to corral volunteer help – including local students – and donated material,
Now he’s hoping some neighbors will lend a hand at his former rental house in north Arbor Heights. Here’s what he sent us:
Our family’s only major investment, a small house first bought in 1977, was intended to support our only child, Taichi, an adopted Down syndrome young man.
As aging parents we have no extended family to care for him when we are no longer able to. Recent history has demonstrated that if we rely solely on the government to care for him he may well end up abused or worse.
Due to the unconstitutional eviction moratorium and our tenants’ abuse of it, the hope of keeping the house to fund his special needs trust is no longer an option. After cleaning up the mountain of trash, we will sell “as is.”. We received some federal compensation but nothing from the city or state (the mayor’s directive didn’t allow for even the sale of property while occupied). Yet we still have to pay property tax and utilities. Unable to evict while observing the property’s destruction, the federal payment didn’t come close to covering our losses. Please consider helping with cleaning up the aftermath.
Cleanup days: Saturday (18th) & Sunday (19th)
We will provide a limited number of N95 masks along with light-duty gloves and bottled water.
Things to bring if you can (not required):
Hand truck – wheelbarrow – weed whacker – impact driver (to remove many screws).
The “destruction,” he says, includes a skateboarding facility the tenant built in the back yard, mostly dismantled but “a lot of trash remains.”
Dolfay says that prior to this, he has been trying to get help from city officials for many months. (He also notes that he is a party in the Rental Housing Association‘s lawsuit over eviction restrictions.) He says he was asked to offer suggestions, so he did: Waive a year of property tax, pay for a year of insurance, waive the unpaid utilities for which he says he’s been targeted for collection, supply a city crew to help with cleanup. None of that happened. Eventually, he says, sometime this spring, the tenants just “abandoned the place” and he regained control of the property this summer. Now he’s proceeding with plans to sell. Anyone who can help with the cleanup can reach him at satomiscott (at) q.com.
A “brand-new magical place” is how Westside School (WSB sponsor) head of school Steve de Beer described the preschool expansion just opened south of the Arbor Heights campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning celebrated the completion of the two-classroom building, which, like the heart of the school’s main building, is a converted church sanctuary.
The connected classrooms welcomed a full complement of 28 students Friday. We took a sneak-peek tour two days earlier.
Everything is kid-size:
As we reported in April, as remodeling of the former New Apostolic Church got under way, the expansion is enabling Westside School to double the size of its preschool and pre-K programs. In all, the school now has nearly 400 students, preschool through 8th grade. The community of families present and past is so supportive, it yielded key participants in the project, including STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor), whose Craig Haveson was there this morning (below left, with Westside’s director of advancement Nicole Caden and de Beer):
The design firm, SKL Architects, also is from the school community (and designed the main campus, too). This morning’s ceremony was an opportunity for Westside to acknowledge and thank the project participants and donors, to talk about the school’s future, and also honor its almost-40-year history. A key figure for many of those years, who served in many roles at Westside, Claudia Ross-Weston, was at the ceremony:
Past board president Lisa Hadley cut the ribbon:
Then it was time for tours. The preschool-expansion building is opening almost exactly three years, de Beer said, after the former church approached the school to see if it might be interested in leasing the property.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After 25 years in what was once “downtown Arbor Heights,” artist Loren Lukens is leaving.
But his Brace Point Pottery studio and gallery site at 4208 SW 100th will remain in an artist’s hands.
We found out about the transition plan from Deb Schwartzkopf, who announced this week that she will open Rain City Clay there next March.
We talked to Lukens last night while Brace Point Pottery was open for the September West Seattle Art Walk. He and wife Beth Kirchhoff are moving in February to central California, near where their daughter is a geology professor. He plans to set up a studio there once settled, but isn’t expecting to get back into the gallery business. He’s been in Seattle for 40 years – 25 of them in Arbor Heights.
He’s proud that the sale means the studio will remain just that, rather than be redeveloped like the former church next door (which was demolished for a stalled townhouse project).
Here’s where Deb Schwartzkopf and her Rain City Clay plan comes in. It’s meant as an addition to her current business, Rat City Studios, which she says is “a thriving community that supports ceramic artists of all levels” but after eight years has outgrown its capacity “and cannot accommodate the waitlist for independent study participants or classes in their current location.
“We would love to expand our reach to youth, golden-agers, and underserved communities in our immediate vicinity as we grow,” Schwartzkopf said in the announcement. And regarding taking over the Arbor Heights studio: “We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to build on the legacy of this artist community.”
To expand into her full vision – to “offer classes for all levels, skill-building workshops, a firing service for local potters, artist studios, and a specialty shop featuring local and national artists” – Schwartzkopf is crowdfunding. As also explained on her website, the Arbor Heights facility will need some maintenance and upgrades, so that’s part of what the contributions will cover. The GoFundMe page is here; you can also support her plan, she says, via taking an online clay class or buying her pottery.
Though the official handoff isn’t until March 1st, an exhibition is planned in January to introduce Rain City Clay at the Brace Point Pottery location. (And you’ll have chances to say goodbye to Lukens before that – the gallery continues to host events including a sale tomorrow of Cathy Woo’s work, and the Westside Artists tour later this month. (That tour, in fact, began as a collaboration between artists including Schwartzkopf and Lukens.)
(Deb Schwartzkopf photo by Matisse LB Photography)
Missing your mailbox?
A texter sent that photo of mailboxes discovered dumped along the 45th SW/Marine View Drive stairway this morning.
4:07 PM: Michelle says this happened at 1:30 pm today:
Truck stolen from Arbor Heights – (9800 block) 37th Ave SW – from inside our locked gate. It’s a 2001 F350 Ford truck, white. License C82519W
Call 911 if you see it.
5;46 PM: Same goes for this stolen car – the report is from Emily:
Our car was stolen early this morning. It is a red 1990 Miata. It was stolen at 4:53 AM; the person walked north on 46th Ave SW on the west side of the street between Hill and Holgate, walked right to our car and took it within 30 seconds. In North Admiral. License Plate is BZE4444
ORIGINAL TUESDAY REPORT: Summit Atlas, the charter middle/high school in Arbor Heights, was in lockdown for a little more than an hour this morning because of what was described in an email to parents as a “possible threat.” We called after a text from a reader; the school told us the lockdown was over and parents would get an explanation via email. One parent forwarded what was sent, in which the school said:
This morning, we responded to a report of a possible threat to our campus. When an incident occurs on our campus, we act quickly, we collaborate with the community and with local law enforcement, and we communicate with you promptly. The situation was resolved quickly, and all students are safe.
Our students’ safety is always our top priority and consistent with our safety protocols, our school building did go on lock down for approximately 70 minutes while the Seattle Police conducted a thorough investigation. …
Police say what information they have so far indicates the incident involved “an unfounded report of a weapon at the school.”
ADDED WEDNESDAY: The police summary that’s now available adds a few more details:
On 08-31-2021 at 0902 hours, officers responded to a school due to a student emailing a teacher about students bringing guns to the school. The school went into lockdown and units responded. The principal and officers spoke with the student about what they had heard. It became apparent quickly that the timeline of events given by the student was not possible. Officers did a check of the property for anything out of place. The school released from lockdown and thanked officers.
Thanks to Lisa for the photos and report. She found Liv & Sawyer’s Jewelry Shop while out on a walk in Arbor Heights, and reports they are “making and selling colorful band bracelets (and chokers). Their business is at the corner of 36th Ave SW and 102nd. Several colors to choose from.”
Lisa says Liv and Sawyer are out there again today, making and selling jewelry until about 3 pm.
Two thefts in West Seattle Crime Watch – starting with one that just happened:
CATALYTIC-CONVERTER THIEF SPEEDS OFF: We heard the dispatch for this Arbor Heights theft moments before Lisa called our hotline to report what happened a short time ago. Somebody was taking the catalytic converter off a neighbor’s Honda Element – they could hear the tool, and see the sparks – and neighbors went out yelling at the thief, who, Lisa says, hollered back, before getting into a white sedan and speeding away, even as the 911 call was going out. Only description she has is that he was wearing a red hoodie.
ADDED 2:15 PM: The car’s owner has provided a security photo and video. First, here’s the getaway car:
Second, video of the entire incident. Of particular note, after a lookout person runs away, the would-be thief remains alongside the car – until its owner (2:20 in) runs up, wrestles him away, and then chases him off:
The car’s owner says that just off camera, the thief pulled a gun as he got away. He also clarifies that they did NOT get away with the catalytic converter – but they “cut it both sides and now it’s just dangling from the bottom of my car.” He says
(back to original report) BACKYARD BARBECUE THEFT: This report was sent by Jordan Sunday night:
I wanted to report a theft from our backyard of a Traeger BBQ (in the 5000 block of) 26th Ave SW. They accessed our backyard from a back alley and must have known it was there because I left for 30 minutes for a run and it was gone when I got back. Pretty unbelievable, but just wanted to get the word out to avoid anyone else losing something.
Bus stops along two West Seattle Metro routes have been bagged like that for the past half-year. This September, one set of stops will reopen. Metro plans to continue “suspension” of Route 37. But it is planning to bring back Route 22, which runs between Arbor Heights and The Junction. This was not in the tentative plan Metro had presented to a County Council committee earlier this year, but it was added by the time Metro returned to the council’s Environment and Mobility Committee last week. (Here’s the presentation, which notes that the Route 22 restoration was added to its fall plan because of survey feedback.) We didn’t hear about it until local transportation writer Ryan Packer mentioned it in a WSB comment discussion; we followed up with Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer, who confirmed, “Route 22 will be returning with weekday service with the fall service change, operating between 6 AM-9 PM. Similar to service levels pre-pandemic, service will be hourly.”
Breeze and shade can be found at 4208 SW 100th in Arbor Heights [map], where an outdoor/indoor art fair – with live music! – continues until 5 pm at Brace Point Pottery. We found Carly Ann Calbero performing:
She was wrapping up her set a short time ago, to be followed by Sue Quigley. Artists showing and selling their work, including Tina Anderson:
Scout dad Jason sent the announcement:
Cub Scout Pack 799 in Arbor Heights would like to inform the West Seattle community that we are conducting a food drive through the next two weekends. Scouts and parents will place food drive hangers on doors this Juneteenth, Saturday 6/19, and then return the following Saturday, June 26th, to collect any nonperishable items, bagged, from the locations where we distributed hangers (by noon/midday).
This drive is our Scouts’ final service activity heading into summer. With public school meals-by-bus and home delivery ceasing tomorrow, we hope to boost West Seattle Food Bank‘s mobile services through July (note SPS will have distribution sites operating during summer). If you see a Scout in your neighborhood putting out hangers, or find a hanger on your door, please consider donating.
And if folks miss our pickup date and still wish to donate after June 26th, they can drop off donations at the West Seattle Food bank, or place items in a “Little Free Pantry” nearby.
See the following link for items the West Seattle Food Bank currently accepts: westseattlefoodbank.org/donate-food
For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The first of this week’s four graduation ceremonies for West Seattle high schools happened last night in the Brockey Center at South Seattle College.
In our video are the first-ever high-school graduates from Summit Atlas, West Seattle’s first and only charter school, which opened four years ago and has been adding grades each year until reaching a full complement of 6th through 12th grade classes this year. The “founders’ class” numbered 33 graduates. Five Class of 2021 students spoke – Zahria Perry, Zakariya Osman, Esther Mumbi, Anishta Rojini Kathireson, and Jackson Alvis, with whom we spoke before the ceremony:
Jackson is one of the 30 grads that the school says are headed for college. The ceremony also featured keynote speaker Toyia T. Taylor, the award-winning educator/advocate who chaired the 2020 Seattle Children’s March.
Teachers and staffers spoke too, including the high school’s executive director Dan Effland. Along with diplomas, the graduates received parting mementos such as a founders-class commemorative painting of orcas (the school’s mascot):
This milestone for the school comes 6 1/2 years after we broke the news that a charter school was taking over what had been a church and former supermarket at 35th/Roxbury. Summit Atlas opened in fall of 2017 as the second of California-based Summit‘s two Seattle schools.
West Seattle Karate Academy (35th/Roxbury) is closing. One student’s saddened parent told WSB that they got the news at classes on Monday. We contacted the academy’s owner/lead instructor Kris Wilder to confirm. Here’s the announcement:
After 25 years, the West Seattle Karate Academy is closing its dojo doors. Owner and head instructor Kris Wilder said, “A combination of events has put the dojo in the same situation many people and businesses have found themselves. It’s not unique, nor is the sting.”
Kris said, “For the last 25 or so years, I have taught karate in the West Seattle/White Center area. I have met fascinating people, colorful stories, and people with extraordinary potential, gifts, and stories.
“Karate brought us together. Without karate the chances of our crossing paths were low. That is one of the greatest values of Karate, and martial arts, in general, bring people together under one common goal – to better oneself. It has been my greatest pleasure to have been part of this most special community, to participate in your stories and lives. A simple, ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for everything.”
Kris is leaving Seattle, relocating to Eastern Washington. He will continue teaching and writing (he has 22 books) and traveling to teach at his international seminars.
Three years ago, he was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. The parent who contacted us said West Seattle Karate Academy will be missed: “My son made many friends there, learned a great deal about dedication and focus, and really loved this sport.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
On the day after Earth Day, this is a story about recycling.
For the second time in six years, Westside School (10404 34th SW; WSB sponsor) is recycling an old church.
Its Arbor Heights campus, opened in 2015 after Westside spent 34 years at other locations, is built on what was Hillcrest Presbyterian Church. And now Westside is expanding south, by renovating the former New Apostolic Church next door (3210 SW 106th) into two preschool classrooms, enabling the independent school to double the size of its preschool and pre-K programs.
Two years ago, we mentioned that the owners of the former church, whose congregation merged with one in Federal Way, had approached Westside about possibly renting the property. The idea of using it for a preschool expansion was in a very early stage then. But it’s since blossomed into a lease and a plan; the work is now under way, with the expansion expected to open this fall.
We toured the under-renovation site this week with Westside’s head of school Steve de Beer, preschool/pre-kindergarten division director McKenzie Craig, and advancement director Nicole Caden.
That map shows where SDOT is planning speed humps to slow drivers near Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside School (WSB sponsor). We contacted SDOT for more details after a postcard landed in Arbor Heights mailboxes and reader Andrew forwarded it as an FYI. The map (here’s a PDF version) shows 29 speed humps planned for streets that already have 20 mph school-zone signage, says SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. He adds that this is part of the Safe Routes to School program. Construction isn’t scheduled yet, he says, but won’t happen any earlier than May; the mailer was meant to be an early warning of sorts.
ADDED WEDNESDAY: SDOT explains the color-coding as – red for speed humps, blue for speed cushions. Here’s an explanation of how they differ.
Sometimes what looks like an abandoned car really isn’t. But Carolyn says this one really seems abandoned and likely stolen:
ABANDONED MERCURY TRACER LS – SEDAN – SILVER/GRAY – NO PLATES
This car was abandoned on our street sometime early this morning, 3/15/21. Its doors are unlocked. License plates have been removed.
Interior has been trashed with garbage/food; smells like gas; empty gas-can inside car. Steering column has been trashed; appears to have been hot-wired. Appears that hood has been opened up/ didn’t check to see if there’s anything left in there; didn’t attempt to open trunk. Junk mail for 10235 37th Place SW was found next to car; mail may or may not be related to vehicle’s owner.
Vehicle is located on SW 102nd between 38th SW and 39th SW, Arbor Heights neighborhood of West Seattle. We will give it a day or two before reporting to SPD in order to give the owner a chance to retrieve and avoid impound fees.
Another utility project is set to start, affecting a local street. This time it’s 34th SW in Arbor Heights, near Westside School (WSB sponsor), between SW 104th and 106th. That’s where Puget Sound Energy will be “replacing a portion of the underground natural-gas main and select service lines.” 34th SW will be reduced to one lane in the work area. The work is expected to last about two weeks and may involve some service interruptions. Full details, and a map, are on a flyer (here and here) sent to neighbors, who have been told the work is expected to start Monday. (Thanks to Jodean for the tip!)
Two bicycles in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:
STOLEN VINTAGE BIKE: That’s Jena‘s bike. She sent the photo and report:
My Purple 1970s Schwinn Stingray was stolen from our home last night in Arbor Heights. It is a very rare bicycle, and at the time it was stolen it was disassembled and boxed. I am awaiting a Police Report #. If any information comes up, please contact me, Jena, at 206-383-6999.
DUMPED AND LIKELY STOLEN: Recognize this bicycle?
Mike sent the photo, saying it’s along an alleyway at 49th/Hinds.
ORIGINAL 7:42 PM REPORT: Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight:
STOLEN VEHICLE FOUND … ON ITS SIDE: On Sunday, we published Jim‘s report of his family’s stolen CR-V. It was found early this morning … after this crash:
Whoever was driving the car when it crashed near 34th and 97th in Arbor Heights subsequently bolted. Arlene sent the photo and said the driver was described as “a young man” wearing a black ski mask, blue jacket, and jeans. We confirmed with Jim tonight that it was indeed his CR-V, totaled. A parked car was reported to have been damaged too.
MAIL THEFT: From Kelly: “Mail theft from 22nd Ave between Thistle and Trenton. All mailboxes were opened including multiple locked boxes. I had a package stolen.”
ADDED 8:14 PM – ROBBERY INVESTIGATION: Police are north of The Junction right now investigating a reported street robbery near Holy Rosary. Officers have told dispatch that they’re looking for three suspects, Black men 18-22, all about 6′ and thin, all wearing face coverings and blue jeans, one in a white shirt, one with a black handgun, all of whom got away in a metallic blue 4-door sedan. No details so far on the robbery victim, circumstances, or what was taken.
ADDED 10:18 AM TUESDAY: Just got the report narrative on the robbery:
XXXX stated that she was walking from her home in the 4500 block of 40 Av SW to the restaurant located at 41XX California Av SW. She stated she was walking northbound in the 4400 block of 42 Av SW when an unknown year, make, model, four-door sedan, metallic blue in color traveling southbound on 42 Av SW suddenly pulled up next to her. XXXXXX believed the vehicle was stopping to pick up a possible [ride-share] customer.
XXXXX stated three Black males, 18-22 years old, 6-0, thin build, all wearing blue jeans exited the vehicle and surrounded her. She stated one male was wearing a white T-shirt and armed with a black handgun. XXXXXX stated this male pointed the handgun at her head and stated, “XXXXXXXXXX” XXXXXX advised she was terrified and clung to the purse. She stated the males were stronger than her and ripped the purse from her grasp. XXXXX advised that her identification, credit cards and cell phone were inside of the tan rounded purse. … XXXXX advised she was not injured from the robbery. She stated the suspects left southbound in a vehicle on 42 Av SW. An area check for the suspects and vehicle was negative.
The X’s are what was redacted by SPD before the narrative was provided in response to our request.
Looking for some good news? Despite the COVID-19 economic crunch, generosity is running rampant. We have an update on Arbor Heights-based Cub Scout Pack 799‘s recent Scouting for Food door-to-door drive, courtesy of parent Jason T.:
Please let everyone in West Seattle know that Pack 799 has concluded its food drive, including returning for any initially missed pickups as we were notified.
We are sincerely grateful for the broad support we experienced in performing our service activity, and look forward to sustaining and improving the health of West Seattle in our own small way in the future. According to Karla and all the extremely helpful folks at the West Seattle Food Bank, Pack 799 was able to facilitate the collection of 3,221 pounds of food and household goods — nearly three times the amounts we’ve collected in past drives!
It is really heartwarming to have that level of community support, which gives solid encouragement to our young Scouts who chose to serve their communities in the midst of all the challenges, through a little adaptation and innovation.
The photo and announcement are from Pack 799 dad Jason T:
Today and through this weekend, individual Cub Scouts and their parents will be putting out door hangers in the Arbor Heights neighborhood and a few other neighborhoods around West Seattle (depending where they live, optional participation), and individual families will return on Saturday, October 10, 9 am to 12 pm to retrieve any nonperishable items, bagged, from the locations where they distributed hangers. Families will deliver these bags to the West Seattle Food Bank. If you see one of these hangers on your door, please consider helping us out with our service activity by donating. See the following link for items the West Seattle Food bank currently accepts:
Performing this activity as individual families is one way the Pack is adopting COVID-19 appropriate approaches for our community service activities. And with food insecurity on the rise, dens feel it is more important than ever to assist in small ways.
We received multiple questions last night about a police/fire response on SW 104th last night because SFD classified the call as “scenes of violence, aid.” The last word is key – it’s a lower-level medical response than the usual “scenes of violence” callout; the “scenes of violence” designation is usually because of how a victim was injured, generally involving a weapon of some kind. We don’t automatically go out on the “aid” level of calls but with all the questions, we went over to try to find out more. The response was already wrapping up and officers on the scene wouldn’t comment. We found out from SFD later via email that a 30-year-old man had been taken to a hospital, in stable condition, but had to wait until this morning to ask SPD media relations for more information on their part of the response. The response: “This was a crisis call and a domestic-violence assault. One person was arrested.”
Since Seattle City Light started its Arroyo Conduit Installation Project in southwest West Seattle more than two years ago, it’s sent monthly project updates. Up until this past March, the updates listed the project timeline as “18-20 months” (though by then it was in month 22). Then the timeline mentions stopped – until today’s update:
Seattle City Light received several inquiries about the status of the Arroyo Conduit Installation Project. We acknowledge that construction delays have resulted in an extended project timeline and we recognize the inconvenience this has caused for neighbors and community.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated multiple changes to our operations staffing model and at this time, we continue to operate with approximately 75% of our typical staff. The Arroyo Conduit Installation Project remains a high priority for City Light and the City.
Construction on 42nd Avenue SW will continue through October 2020; however, timing for follow-up work by the Seattle Department of Transportation is unclear.
The entire project is now estimated for completion in the 3rd quarter of 2021. We recognize that the timing is not what we’ve previously communicated and understand that the delay is frustrating. Our goal is to meet our customer commitments and it’s disappointing when we aren’t able to do so.
Please be aware that due to the nature of our work maintaining the electrical system, some essential tasks require crew members to work closely together for their safety. We ask that residents continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines when walking near a construction site. The safety of our customers and crews is our number one priority. This work is in accordance with protocols in place to meet all COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Department of Health, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Again, we apologize for the delay.