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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.

Brace Point Pottery in ‘downtown Arbor Heights’ to become Rain City Clay

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: 2 stolen vehicles – white Ford pickup, red Miata

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

UPDATE: ‘Possible threat’ leads to brief school lockdown at Summit Atlas

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.

BIZNOTE: Young Arbor Heights entrepreneurs wrap up summer with roadside jewelry shop

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter thief speeds off (photo, video added); backyard barbecue stolen

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.

FOLLOWUP: Metro will bring back Route 22 on weekdays this fall

(WSB photo, December 2020)

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.”

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: Art and music in Arbor Heights

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:

See the lineup in our calendar listing. The food truck Who’s Eating Gilbert’s Greats is there too, if you’re in the mood for lunch or a snack.

YOU CAN HELP: Cub Scout Pack 799’s door-to-door food drive this weekend

June 17, 2021 8:38 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP: Cub Scout Pack 799’s door-to-door food drive this weekend
 |   Arbor Heights | How to help | West Seattle news

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:

For questions, contact

GRADUATION: First-ever ceremony for Summit Atlas, as charter school celebrates commencement of ‘founders’ class’

(WSB photos/video)

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.

BIZNOTE: West Seattle Karate Academy closing after 25 years

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.”