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WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Walk/Bike/Roll to School Day @ Arbor Heights Elementary

It’s Walk/Bike/Roll to School Day, and Arbor Heights Elementary participated enthusiastically. Some, even on roller skates, like Lilian:

Arbor Heights students were met on arrival by principal Christy Collins and the Junior Seahawk:

Wednesday is early-dismissal day for Seattle Public Schools, so all those riders, walkers, and rollers will be heading home soon.

Thanks to Mary at AHES for inviting us to come cover the event! Story tips are always appreciated, at or, if it’s breaking news/happening now, voice/text our hotline, 206-293-6302.

For one West Seattle school, the new year has begun

Passing through Arbor Heights, we decided to check the Summit Atlas calendar, recalling that school starts earlier than others – and discovered the first day of school was today. Summit Atlas is West Seattle’s only charter school, with middle- and high-school grades 6-12. The school opened five years ago after renovating and expanding a building that was previously a church and, before that, a supermarket.

UPDATE: Comcast/Xfinity outage in Arbor Heights

11:53 AM: We’ve heard from multiple people mentioning a Comcast/Xfinity outage in Arbor Heights. Not weather-related – this started before the thunder/lightning/downpour moved through. One person says the Comcast website shows up to 500 customers affected. We’re checking with the company.

1:23 PM: This doesn’t explain the timetable for the outage but Comcast tells us, “We had some equipment in the node damaged in the storm this morning. Techs are actively replacing, and it should be back online by 2 pm.”

3:36 PM: Comcast said they had it fixed by 1:42 pm – so if you’re still out, let them know (try a reboot first).

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail cut for man charged with stalking U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Most of the time, defendants are arraigned – summoned to court to enter a plea – two weeks after charges are filed. Today, 49-year-old Brett A. Forsell of Arbor Heights was arraigned and pleaded not guilty, six days after he was charged with felony stalking in relation to an incident in which he was arrested outside U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal‘s home. A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued when the charge was filed, and Forsell was re-arrested two days later. Today, his lawyer requested that his bail be reduced to $25,000; the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued against a bail reduction, but Superior Court Judge Aimee Sutton reduced the bail to $150,000. The KCPAO notes: “However, the judge granted prosecutors’ request for GPS monitoring with victim notification, alcohol monitoring, a stalking protection order and, if the defendant were to post the bail amount, electronic home monitoring.” The court documents from today’s hearing include letters from family and friends vouching for him, as well as information not available previously – that Forsell turned himself in after the charges were filed and warrant issued last week. His only criminal history, the lawyer also noted, is a DUI almost a decade ago. Forsell’s next hearing is in two weeks.

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Man arrested outside U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s West Seattle home is out of jail

Tonight the 48-year-old man arrested outside U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal‘s Arbor Heights home last Saturday night was released from jail. We first noticed his release on the county inmate roster and confirmed with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that he was released as required because he had not yet been charged. The KCPAO says that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be charged – they are still working on the case: “The suspect’s alleged language and actions, coupled with his possession of a concealed weapon, deserve the full attention of the justice system. Presently, the investigation is ongoing and our office is working with police investigators to make sure we understand the full extent of the suspect’s actions to build the strongest case possible.”

A different action has been taken against the man, also an Arbor Heights resident. As first reported by The Seattle Times – SPD obtained an Extreme Risk Protection Order (explained here) to keep him from possessing a gun. We have obtained those court documents. They say that in addition to the handgun seized from him the night of his arrest, the suspect “expressed an intent to purchase an AK47 for protection” while talking with police Saturday. The documents also say that he admitted to police “that since June 29th he has driven past Pramila’s residence three to seven separate times while yelling obscenities toward Pramila and her political party.” Two of those times were on Saturday. The first time, police say, he admitted to driving there with his adult son and exiting the vehicle and shouting ‘F— you, Pramila’ (but) denied making any statements about her ethnicity/race (and also) denied making statements telling (her) to kill herself and stated he did not know if his son made that statement.” Police say the second time he drove there, he got out of his vehicle and yelled “Hey a–h—, I’m your new f—ing neighbor.” The documents say a neighbor’s security camera recorded that but also recorded a voice saying other obscenities and “Tell Pramila to kill herself.” The recording also includes what police described as “a sound that sounds like something metal being manipulated,” and they speculated it could have been a handgun being racked, or the metal poles for the tent the man was trying to set up.

The documents go on to say that the man had demonstrated “escalating behavior” toward Rep. Jayapal, including email sent to her in January “stating his dislike toward her due to her perceived political wrongdoings.” The documents also suggest that even if the behavior does not qualify as a hate crime, stalking charges are possible. They say the Glock handgun found in his waistband on Saturday night was the only gun he was known to have, so that’s all that’s listed in the order, though it also prohibits him from possessing or seeking to possess any other guns. King County Superior Court Judge Matthew Segal granted the Extreme Risk Protection Order on a temporary basis; a hearing will be held July 26th on whether to extend it.

SUMMER: Youth tennis lessons in Arbor Heights

June 30, 2022 8:46 am
|    Comments Off on SUMMER: Youth tennis lessons in Arbor Heights
 |   Arbor Heights | West Seattle news | WS & Sports

Registration opens tomorrow morning for upcoming youth tennis lessons at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club. Here’s the announcement they’re sharing with the community:

Our next two-week tennis-lesson session starts Tuesday, July 5. Key information includes:

Two separate 45-minute lesson sessions offered: 12.30 pm-1.15 pm and 1.15 pm-2 pm

Each session includes 10 lessons: Tuesday-Friday, July 5-8, and Monday-Friday, July 11-July 14

Ages 8-18 and all abilities welcome

Cost is $108 for 9 lessons

Registration opens Friday, July 1, at 9 am. Click on Lessons – Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club to register.

Questions at

YOU CAN HELP: Roots of Empathy volunteers sought for fall

Here’s plenty of advance notice for one volunteering opportunity coming up at a local school:

Have you been wondering how you can give back to the West Seattle community? Have you ever considered becoming a Roots of Empathy Instructor? Arbor Heights Elementary is in need of volunteers who are willing to train as Roots of Empathy Instructors in the coming school year. Applications are currently being accepted and training dates are scheduled for October 18-20, 2022.

What is Roots of Empathy? Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that fosters empathy in children, now entering its 15th year of partnership with elementary schools in the Seattle area. Arbor Heights has participated in Roots of Empathy since 2013 and they are looking for a few more people who are willing to give time to children and watch them evolve over the school year as they watch “their” baby grow.

Want to see what Roots of Empathy looks like? Click to view a recent BBC World Hacks feature on the Roots of Empathy program. You can learn more about what being an Instructor means here.

Please reach out to Suz Fix, local Program Manager, at if you’re interested in joining Roots of Empathy in changing the world, child by child.

GRADUATION: Congratulations, Summit Atlas Class of 2022!

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

West Seattle’s only charter school, Summit Atlas in Arbor Heights, has graduated its second class of 12th-graders. A ceremony last night at South Seattle College‘s Brockey Center celebrated the 33 members of the Summit Atlas Class of 2022. Student speakers included Maka Yusuf, Steisy Leon, and Wilder Roff:

The class’s mentors, Sr. Perez and Ms. Smith, presented diplomas:

And Grupo Folklorico Citlali, featuring Class of 2022 member Angelina Gonzalez, performed:

Summit Atlas’s high-school executive director is Dan Effland:

Three more high-school graduations are ahead in West Seattle – the last Seattle Lutheran HS commencement tonight, Chief Sealth IHS and West Seattle HS on Monday.

FOLLOWUP: Arbor Heights house-fire victim dies; neighbors organizing help

(WSB photo, Sunday evening)

2:55 PM: When an Arbor Heights house caught fire Sunday evening, neighbors rushed over with fire extinguishers to try to help while firefighters were on the way. Now, neighbors are assisting in another way – they’ve organized crowdfunding for the family coping with the aftermath of what SFD ruled was an accidental fire. The most seriously injured victim is still in the hospital in critical condition with burns, neighbor Steve tells WSB. So neighbors are doing what they can to help, and for all the times readers ask if they can help in the wake of emergencies, they wanted to let you know too. They explain on the crowdfunding page that the victim and his wife “are wonderful neighbors who have lived on our block for many years.”

4 PM: Since we published this, as noted in comments, the crowdfunding page has been updated with the news that the critically injured man, Angelo, has died.

UPDATE: Arbor Heights house fire sends 3 people to hospital

7:13 PM: Seattle Fire crews are just arriving at a house fire in the 9800 block of 45th SW [map] – smoke was visible from miles north.

(Photo sent by Erin, seen from Lincoln Park)

They report it’s a “working fire.” Updates to come.

7:15 PM: At least one person is reported in need of medical treatment.

(Added: WSB photo)

7:20 PM: Firefighters told dispatch the fire is under control. … Other people who were in the house are reported to need medical evaluation.

7:56 PM: Update from SFD – “Firefighters rescued an approximately 74-year-old man from the house fire; he is being transported in critical condition via medics to HMC. 2 other occupants are also being transported via AMR in stable condition.” The fire is out.

(Added: SFD photo)

8:29 PM: Just talked to SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley. She had one detail to add – that neighbors jumped into action with fire extinguishers after seeing smoke and hearing someone yelling for help, but it was too late – the fire “took off.” Of the three people home at the time, the one who was transported in critical condition was in the room where the fire is believed to have started; another man got out OK, and a woman was out in the yard at the time. SFD’s investigator is working to determine the cause.

MONDAY MORNING: SFD says the fire was ruled accidental, blamed on an “overheated electrical power strip.”

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: Rain City Clay’s grand-opening celebration

(WSB photos/video)

Today’s the day Deb Schwartzkopf has been working toward for a long time – the grand opening of Rain City Clay in Arbor Heights. As we first reported nine months ago, it’s an expansion for her, joining Rat City Studios in White Center. This is a big space that facilitates not just art but also classes. Lots of work space – here for example are kilns:

Today’s celebration is on until 7 pm – with tours, refreshments, and art to enjoy – you can see how Rain City Clay has been renovating the former Brace Point Pottery:

Live music, too, with the Bobby Medina Jazz Quartet:

Rain City Clay is in the heart of Arbor Heights, at 4208 SW 100th.

BIZNOTE: Finally grand-opening time for Rain City Clay

Nine months after artist Deb Schwartzkopf announced her plan to open Rain City Clay in Arbor Heights, the grand-opening day is almost here. Tomorrow (Saturday, April 2nd) from 2 pm to 7 pm, you’re invited to drop in for an extravaganza including food, tours, art (of course), activities from 2:30 to 4 pm and live jazz starting at 4. (The full celebration lineup is here.) Schwartzkopf already operates Rat City Studios in White Center and is expanding to West Seattle by opening Rain City Clay at what was Brace Point Pottery (after 25 years, Loren Lukens sold the studio to move out of state). After the party, classes at Rain City Clay (4208 SW 100th) start Monday.

GOT PLANTS? Arbor Heights Elementary’s school garden wants them!

Gardening season is here – and if you have surplus plants, here’s a garden whose tenders would be happy to give them a new home: The Arbor Heights Elementary School Garden! Here’s the request – with an invitation – sent to us so we can share it with you:

Do you have any plants or herbs to donate to the Arbor Heights Elementary school garden? The students and garden volunteers are looking for plants (especially pollinators) to hold down the new soil and prevent erosion for the new berms (raised beds) they will be building at the upcoming garden work party on Sunday, April 3.

Spring is a good time to divide and move perennials, so if you have any divisions to share from your home garden, we’d love to have them. You can bring any plants to Arbor Heights Elementary during school hours (7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.) and leave them by the front entrance — or stop by on Sunday, April 3, from 10–11:30 a.m. for the garden work party. If you’d like to join the party, bring a pair of gloves and weeding tools. The more, the merrier!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Amy West, 3rd-grade teacher, and school garden fairy, at

The school is at 3701 SW 104th.

ROAD-WORK ALERT: More SW 106th repaving this weekend

Last weekend, SDOT repaved two blocks of storm-rutted SW 106th east of 35th SW. This weekend, more repaving is planned, this time to the west:

On Saturday and Sunday, we will repave a section of SW 106th St between 39th Ave SW and 42nd Ave SW. We’ll begin this work as early as 7 AM and expect to be done by 5 PM both days. People driving can expect delays, lane closures, and detours during the paving. SW 106th St will remain open outside of the work hours.

FOLLOWUP: Rain City Clay gets ready to move into Brace Point Pottery in Arbor Heights

Deb Schwartzkopf had cause to celebrate tonight. She was in the spotlight at a show with dozens of artists exhibiting at the future location of her Rain City Clay studios. It’s at 4208 SW 100th, the longtime Arbor Heights home of Brace Point Pottery, whose owner Loren Lukens is moving out of state. Schwarzkopf and friends, including many contributing artists, gathered tonight for a reception celebrating the start of the transition, which we first told you about back in September. It’s now just a month and a half until Schwartzkopf will “get the keys” on March 1st.

She plans to keep her current studio in White Center, Rat City Studios, as a location for artists to use, but Rain City Clay will be the hub for classes, workshops, and shows – like this one, featuring many students past and present, as well as other clay artists.

If you didn’t get to the show – titled “Introductions” – tonight, you can also see it next Saturday, when Brace Point Pottery is open 10 am-5 pm. (This is the last show Lukens is hosting there before his move next month.) Meantime, Schwartzkopf is continuing to crowdfund to help with improvements and added equipment to realize her community-building vision for Rain City Clay. The grand-opening celebration is planned for April 2nd.

UPDATE: Power outage in south West Seattle, fully restored after two hours (updated with cause)

1:26 AM: So far we have two reports that power’s out in Arbor Heights. Flickered here in Upper Fauntleroy, Not on City Light map yet. Anyone else out?

1:29 AM: Add Fauntlee Hills.

1:32 AM: The outage is mapped now – 4,880 customers, mostly southwest West Seattle.

1:39 AM: No cause yet but a few people report it was preceded by a “boom.” We noticed the wind kicking up. (The forecast was updated again after 9:30 pm and notes “Gusts to 30 mph after midnight.”)

2:24 AM: One hour in. No word on the cause yet.

2:31 AM: Just got a text about restored power in Arbor Heights. (added) Commenters from other areas, too.

2:36 AM: Map shows the outage is down to just under 1,000 customers. Mostly Sunrise Heights, and a bit of Gatewood, plus a stretch along SW Holden reaching into Highland Park. Updated map:

3:43 AM: And after a little more than two hours, everybody else is back on. We’ll follow up later this morning with SCL regarding the cause.

11:37 AM: Just got that info from SCL’s Julie Moore: “The cause was a large tree that came down on our lines just south of SW Juneau and 26th Ave SW. Initially the outage at 1:22 a.m. impacted 4,879 customers, but within about an hour we were able to determine it was safe to re-energize a large section of our system as the crews continued to patrol and locate the issue. Once they did, the remaining 982 customers were restored by 3:30 a.m.”

UPDATE: Arbor Heights crash

1:15 PM: Thanks to Lisa for the tip. Police and fire are at 35th SW and SW 106th [map] for a multiple-vehicle crash. No major injuries reported so far, as no medic unit has been sent. Avoid the intersection for a while.

1:53 PM: SFD has closed the call (we’re following up with them regarding injuries) and an update from Lisa shows a tow truck clearing the intersection.

6:07 PM: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo tells WSB that two women were treated at the scene and taken to a hospital via private ambulance, in stable condition: one 65 years old, one 27 years old.


Three months ago, reporting on a researcher’s quest to find out what happened to all the coyotes, we noted we hadn’t received a sighting report in a long time. Today – that changed! The photos are from Ted, who saw the coyote near 37th/97th in north Arbor Heights, noting, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one around here.”

Learn about coexisting with coyotes here.

Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club’s Dog Days return

(2017 photo by Jamie Kinney)

A post-summer tradition is back – before draining and cleaning its pool for the off-season, Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club is opening it to dogs. Here’s the announcement we just received from a club member:

Monday 10/18 through Friday 10/22, 4:30-6 pm
Saturday 10/23, 11 am-1 pm

Per day per dog $5, or $20 per dog for a full week pass – CASH ONLY

Dogs only in the pool – no people
No lifeguard on duty
Owners must remain at the club and in control of their dogs
Dogs must be healthy, up to date on shots, and well socialized to people and other dogs
Come prepared to pick up your dog’s poop!

The club is at 11003 31st SW.

UPDATE: Police standoff at 36th/Roxbury ends after 8+ hours

2:38 PM: Thanks for the tips. Police tell us they are dealing with a person in crisis, possibly armed, near 36th/Roxbury, and have blocked Roxbury in that area. They tell us nearby Summit Atlas middle/high school is in lockdown as a result. No injuries reported thus far but avoid the area.

3:27 PM: Not resolved yet. A dispatcher recapping the situation described it as having started when the person “brandished a rifle at a neighbor’s window” and was then seen by officers with “a pistol.” They are reported to be inside a house.

4:06 PM: As noted in comments, Summit Atlas has since let out for the day. Meantime, SWAT team officers have joined the response. The person who’s the focus of all this is reported to be a man in his 60s.

5:04 PM: Not resolved yet. Note for traffic purposes that Cambridge also is blocked west of 35th SW.

5:34 PM: Officers are continuing to use a PA system to ask the man to surrender.

5:58 PM: If you just heard an explosion in the area, that’s a “flash-bang” deployed by SWAT. … Shortly after that, another one.

7:13 PM: They’ve now advised the man via the PA that they have obtained a search warrant and if he doesn’t come out, they’re going in.

7:31 PM: Still trying to convince him to surrender, with another flashbang, in the standoff’s sixth hour.

8:01 PM: Now seventh hour. Police report the man has been firing a “pellet” gun among other erratic behavior.

9:01 PM: Eighth hour. SWAT officers are continuing to try different tactics, and continuing to tell him via PA that he’s under arrest and needs to surrender.

10:02 PM: Ninth hour. No change.

10:14 PM: SWAT officers reported to dispatch that they’ve moved in and are taking him into custody. They’re calling for SFD to come check him out for exposure to gas (which they used multiple times earlier) and for “Taser deployment.”

10:26 PM: Officers tell dispatch he’ll be taken to the hospital.

BIZNOTE: The Missing Piece to celebrate ‘grand opening’ and 1st anniversary

(Photo courtesy The Missing Piece)

Alex and Lauren, proprietors of The Missing Piece café/game lounge at the northeast corner of 35th and Roxbury, are about to celebrate two milestones concurrently – their “grand opening” and first anniversary! Here’s their announcement:

We’re inviting our friends and neighbors to stop in to try out our coffee and sample our cozy atmosphere. If you’re doing the math – yes, it also happens to be our one-year Anniversary, but crazy times call for crazy Grand Opening schedules! We’ve arranged several special treats that you might want to stop by for, including the following:

-Raffles for games, coffee, teas and even a private room rental package
-Our fall “Roll Your Discount” sale (take up to 12% off all game purchases based on your dice results)
-A small selection of store-branded merchandise available for purchase for the first time
-The inaugural “Piecing It Together” meta event where you can earn prizes just by hanging out with us and doing activities in the store. This event will become a recurring staple on our calendar afterward, so you can keep the prizes flowing

This will be happening all weekend (October 2-3); The Missing Piece’s hours are 8 am-10 pm both days.

He spent years cleaning up a West Seattle greenspace. Now he’s asking for help with a different kind of cleanup

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)

FOLLOWUP: Westside School celebrates completion of preschool expansion

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.