Environment 1500 results

FOLLOWUP: 14 tons of recyclables at West Seattle Junction event! Here’s the breakout

(WSB photo, September 26th)

Two and a half weeks ago, hundreds of West Seattleites descended on the big recycle/reuse/shred event in The Junction. So many that most of the participants maxed out. Today, the totals are in, and Lora Radford from the West Seattle Junction Association shared the report – 14 tons!

The numbers were collected by Waste Management, which says the haul is more than double any of their other similar events around the region. Meantime, Radford is still hoping another household-goods collection event might be possible this fall, since that was the category that maxed out quickly, so stay tuned.

FOLLOWUP: City’s new electric-vehicle fast-charging station now open in West Seattle Junction

West Seattle’s newest electric-vehicle fast-charging station is open – on 39th SW just south of West Seattle Bowl. Construction started six months ago but, like so many things, was slowed by the pandemic response. We’ve been following up with Seattle City Light to check on the progress, and got word today that the two-charger station is now open:

Details on the cost and how to use them are in this FAQ. Some fast facts are also part of its listing on the PlugShare map. This location was chosen a year and a half ago, after initial consideration of a site at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.

Duwamish Tribe now offering ‘ecotours’

(Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, WSB file photo)

On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, you might wonder about ways to support the Duwamish Tribe. They’ve recently announced a new offering through the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in West Seattle: Ecotours:

The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center is continuing our education programs, and keeping safe protocols in place to protect our communities from COVID-19. Masks are required, and we stay outdoors physically distanced at all times during the tour. Group size is limited to four people to keep with CDC guidelines suggesting groups be no larger than five people.

Visit us to learn about and walk through Hah-ah-poos Duwamish Village right on the river across the street from the Longhouse. We can talk about the history of the village site, the history of colonization in the general area of King County, some traditional food sources, and traditional ecological/land stewardship practices.

Email: tours@duwamishtribe.org to schedule a tour, or fill out the form at www.duwamishtribe.org/ecotours.

Let us know in your email, or in the website form, if you have accessibility needs. We will do our best to accommodate, but there are some limitations to the trails and paths at Hah-ah-poos (T-107 park).

It is the mission that of all the programs at the Duwamish Longhouse be self-sustaining. We recommend that our tour participants donate $10-25 per person, but know that we will not turn anyone away for financial reasons so long as we have availability.

P.S. Wondering whether the Port of Seattle will change the name of the park to honor its history as the Hah-ah-poos village site, as supported by the tribe? The port says its park-naming announcements will happen October 27th.

YOU CAN HELP: Volunteer for Fauntleroy Creek’s 2020 Salmon Watch

(2019 photo of coho schooling in Fauntleroy Cove, by veteran watcher Anne Samenfink)

The orcas are here because the salmon are here. Only a few salmon-spawning creeks remain in the city, and one of them will be under volunteer observation again this fall. Want to help? Here’s the announcement from Judy Pickens of the Fauntleroy Watershed Council:

If you’d like to experience coho spawners up close, consider joining Salmon Watch 2020 on Fauntleroy Creek starting Monday, October 19. Individuals and family groups may sign up to watch near the fish ladder (across from the ferry terminal) during the five daylight hours after high tide. A veteran watcher will provide training during your first shift.

This all-outdoor activity is well suited to physical distancing but you’ll need to have a mask at the ready. To learn why West Seattleites eagerly get wet and cold to document fish, contact Judy Pickens at judy_pickens@msn.com.

Here’s Judy’s wrapup report from last year, when 19 spawners were counted.

13,000-gallon gasoline spill on Harbor Island

The U.S. Coast Guard has sent information about the early-morning gasoline spill that brought a multi-agency emergency response to Harbor Island. The USCG says it happened at Shell‘s facility around 4:45 am, and that it was blamed on a pump failure. According to the Coast Guard, the spill was contained before it got into the waterway:

It was reported the tank lined up to feed the pump that failed had 160,749 gallons of gasoline at midnight. Approximately 13,825 gallons of gasoline had been reported released mixed with free-standing water in primary and secondary containment.

There is no report of gasoline in the nearby Duwamish River at this time, and it has been reported the source has been secured.

Coast Guard pollution responders from Sector Puget Sound’s Incident Management Division are currently on scene monitoring the cleanup efforts of the responsible party and a Coast Guard Station Seattle 45-foot Response Boat–Medium crew is underway monitoring the surrounding area.

Other responding agencies included SFD, SPD, Ecology, and National Response Corporation Environmental Services.

UPDATE: Busiest West Seattle Junction recycling event ever

11:22 AM: The West Seattle Junction free recycle/reuse/shred event is more than halfway through – and though the volunteers routing everyone couldn’t give us an in-progress count, it is without doubt the busiest one they’ve ever had. As noted in comments on our morning preview, the Northwest Center truck – household items and clothing – filled up very quickly. Organizers say NW Center isn’t able to send a second truck but they’re trying to see if they can get one for next week. (This is the nonprofit that used to have a daily truck in The Junction, but hasn’t been able to staff that during the pandemic.) Other than that, when we were there a short time ago, we were told everything else still has capacity, including electronics recycling with Friendly Earth:

And a shredding truck (four boxes max):

Plus household batteries and Styrofoam:

This continues in the parking lot off 42nd south of SW Oregon until 1 pm, as capacity allows.

12:22 PM: Electronics recycling is now maxed out, per commenters (thank you!).

SATURDAY: Get ready to recycle/shred at West Seattle Junction event!

Tomorrow’s the day – 9 am to 1 pm, the West Seattle Junction Association parking lot off 42nd SW, just south of SW Oregon, will be your dropoff center for recyclables, reusables, and shreddables. (And take note, that lot closes at 9 pm tonight for preparation – please don’t park there after 9 pm, or you’ll be towed.) It’s drive-up, ride-up, walk-up – masks required – and all the info you need about how it’ll work and what you can and can’t bring is here, as well as on this flyer:

This is your one big chance for “beyond the curb” recycling this fall, as the Fauntleroy Church-sponsored Recycle Roundup is on hold until next year, so if you have unwanted/unneeded items stacked up from quarant-cleaning, don’t miss this!

MORE RECYCLING: Plastic-film dropoff on Saturday

We’ve already told you about the big reuse/recycle event in The Junction on Saturday (info here if you’re catching up). Now we’ve learned of one other recycling-dropoff event that same day – Ridwell invites you to bring plastic film (including plastic grocery bags!) to a dropoff event in Admiral:

The local recycling service Ridwell will be in West Seattle on Saturday, September 26th for a free community event to pick up all your plastic film. The community is trying to reach their goal of 50,000 pounds of material saved from landfills by the end of 2020 and we’re already over halfway there!

Date: Sat. Sept. 26th

Time: 1-4 p.m.

Where: PCC West Seattle parking lot, 2749 California Ave. SW

What: Ridwell will be in West Seattle to collect and recycle your plastic film including plastic bags, bubble wrap, shipping envelopes, and more.

Here is a list of What We Take

This event is open to members and non-members to drop off overflow plastics for free. If you’re not a member yet, stop by and see what we’re all about.

RSVP for the free recycling event here.

DELRIDGE PROJECT: Neighbors fighting to save big street trees by Youngstown Cultural Arts Center

(WSB photos)

Though the Delridge repaving-and-more project has always included plans to remove some trees, the big ones outside historic Youngstown Cultural Arts Center were not supposed to be among them. As our photo shows, those trees are as tall as the century-old building. But plans changed – and neighbors are pushing back.

We found out about the tree-removal plan from neighbor Scott Squire, who explained, “Residents here consider these trees critical to our quality of life, providing as they do shade, dust capture, sound deadening, and perhaps above all, visual interest/aesthetic relief from the loud, dusty (and now torn-up) street.”

We contacted SDOT‘s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth to find out why plans changed. He acknowledged, “During the design stage of the project, these 5 trees were not planned for removal. While working at this location, the tree roots were exposed and this is when we discovered the conflict that would require us to remove them.”

He explained the “conflict” this way: “While working in the field near the Youngstown Cultural Center, our contractor discovered that the roots and bases of these trees conflicted with the new curb line. As a result of this conflict, the trees would likely need to be removed. We’ve attempted to work around the trees in order to preserve them for the community, but we found that our solutions in the field would cause the trees to become unstable and pose a danger to the community.”

But, Ducksworth says, neighbors’ pushback has the city trying to figure out if the trees can be saved after all: “We’re continuing to hear from the nearby community about how important these trees are to them and are presently looking at a design change to attempt to preserve them. We hope to know if a design change is possible in the coming days. With that said, there is a risk the trees will need to be removed. This is why we needed to post the tree removal notices. Notices typically go up 2 weeks prior to a removal. This timeline gives the community adequate time to comment; which people are doing now, and we thank them for that. If we can keep the trees, the notices will come down.”

If you’re interested in commenting, the project email is DelridgeTransit@seattle.gov, and the Urban Forestry contact on the notice is shane.dewald@seattle.gov.

THIS WEEK IN THE JUNCTION: T-shirts, bingo, recycle/reuse/shred

As the new week begins, three reminders from the West Seattle Junction Association:

(One of the three available designs)

T-SHIRT DEADLINE: Don’t have one of those contest-winning West Seattle Bridge T-shirts yet? The next round of orders is about to go in. Monday (September 21st) is the deadline for getting in on it. Go here!

JUNCTION BINGO: Are you playing yet? As explained here, there are two ways to play. One involves a live drawing you can watch online, and the next one is 7 pm Wednesday (September 23rd). Keith Bacon, host of the All Ways West Seattle podcast, is the guest caller, live from Talarico’s.

REUSE/RECYCLE/SHRED EVENT: This Saturday (September 26th) is the big day, 9 am-1 pm, The Junction Association and partners are presenting the big event. Here’s what you can and can’t bring to recycle/donate; if you’re interested in shredding, there’s a 4-box limit. Whatever you’re bringing, face coverings are required, even while you’re in your car. This is happening in the WSJA parking lot off 42nd SW, just south of SW Oregon.

SMOKE: Air Quality Alert extended again; cancellations continue

(Wednesday photo by Suzanne Murray)

Dare we hope that this will be the final extension? The National Weather Service, in consultation with other regional agencies, has extended the Air Quality Alert, this time until 10 am Saturday. Some cancellations/closures continue – city parks are still closed today, Seattle Public Library curbside service is canceled today, and the twice-weekly BLM sign-waving at 16th/Holden is canceled again today too, per organizer Scott.


(WSB photo)

6:33 PM: For the first time in days, we saw a hint of the downtown skyline from Seacrest while out on late-afternoon errands. Looking to the west, the sun was pink through the smoke/fog – we didn’t photograph that, but Marc Milrod did:

Dare we hope the worst is past? The latest “forecast discussion” says cautiously, “A front moving through the area late Thursday into Friday is expected to help clean out some of the smoke.”

ADDED 8:56 PM: Thomas just sent this photo of what the smoke looks like from above – that’s Mount Rainier barely poking through in the distance:

STILL SMOKY: What’s ahead, and above

(Looking toward the smoke-obscured downtown skyline – photo by Marc Milrod)

You might have given up trusting forecasts by now, since we’re still socked in by smoke. But if not – here’s what forecasters are saying: “Relief from smoke will come in the form of an upper-level trough moving onshore late Thursday into Friday, bringing widespread rain that should help clear out the smoke.” So don’t expect relief tomorrow. Couple of interesting side notes from the Washington Smoke Information website: First, if it’s any consolation, this isn’t the longest smoky stretch we’ve lived through in recent years, though it does top one disturbing category. Also: If you’re wondering about which fires this smoke is from – look south, not east.

P.S. If you’re watching the numbers, readers shared their favorite sites in this thread earlier today.

SMOKE: Monday notes about closures/cancellations; new air-quality alert

(Monday morning photo by Stewart L.)

10:12 AM: Monday morning and still smoky. Two notes for starters, and we’ll add anything else of note related to the smoke in the hours ahead:

SEATTLE PARKS: As first reported here last night, parks, playfields, boat ramps, golf courses remain closed today because of the unhealthy air. (Added: The closures have now been extended through Wednesday.)

SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY: Curbside service is suspended again today.

(added) CITY-RUN COVID-19 TESTING SITES: Closed today, including the one at Southwest Athletic Complex.


Other closures/cancellations? westseattleblog@gmail.com or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!

ADDED 11:36 AM: Though the air-quality alert has expired for now, an update from AlertSeattle notes, “Wildfire smoke making air quality ‘very unhealthy’ to ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ is expected to remain in the area through the middle of this week.”

1:50 PM: The expiration didn’t last long. There’s a new air-quality alert in effect through noon Thursday.

SMOKE: City extends park closures, with clearer weather looking further away

(One of the sun’s brief appearances this weekend – photo by Ron Creel)

Two notes as this smoky weekend concludes:

CITY PARK CLOSURES: Seattle Parks announced via Twitter tonight:

Due to ongoing poor air quality, we’re extending closure of beaches, boat ramps, parks, & playfields through end of Mon., 9/14. The City is not issuing citations, but all residents are strongly encouraged to avoid outdoor activities & remain inside if able until quality improves.

SO WHEN WILL IT IMPROVE? Maybe not as soon as originally forecast. From the National Weather Service‘s “forecast discussion” tonight:

Stubborn smoke continues to hang on around most of Western Washington with unhealthy air quality expected to linger into Monday. Surface gradients remain light and this will do little to disperse anything across the lowlands. A broad upper trough offshore will send a weakening frontal system into the region Monday night into Tuesday, but models are backing off considerably with precip chances.

Any other changes/closures for Monday? Let us know so we can include in our updates – thank you!

FOLLOWUP: New agreement announced in ongoing pollution-control case along Duwamish River

While air pollution is on everyone’s minds, remember that while some causes – like the wildfire smoke – are very visible yet very temporary, there are other ongoing, often hard-to-see sources. This weekend there’s an update on an ongoing air- and water-quality situation along the Duwamish River – involving one of the many industrial sites along the waterfront, Seattle Iron & Metals in Georgetown. Puget Soundkeeper sent this update:

Puget Soundkeeper (Soundkeeper) and Seattle Iron & Metals Corp. (SIMC) filed an amended consent decree in the US District Court after SIMC failed to meet pollution-control deadlines established in an initial settlement filed last year.

To protect the health and welfare of Duwamish Valley residents impacted by air and water pollution from SIMC’s operations, Soundkeeper and SIMC negotiated a new agreement which requires SIMC to pay an additional $90,000 to community organizations to fund local restoration and pollution mitigation work. This payment is in addition to the $200,000 SIMC was required to pay under the original consent decree.

“It is important that Seattle Iron and Metals be held accountable for its commitments to control its pollution,” said Josh Osborne-Klein, Puget Soundkeeper Interim Staff Attorney. “For far too long, this facility has been contributing to the disproportionate environmental burden carried by Duwamish Valley residents.”

“Especially today, given the unacceptable levels of air quality in the Duwamish Valley, we are grateful that our Coalition member, Puget Soundkeeper, has ensured that penalties will be placed on Seattle Iron and Metals,” said Robin Schwartz, South Park resident and Advocacy Manager for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. “Our community, and especially our youth and children, deserve healthy air to breathe. Going forward, it is our hope that SIMC meets its air pollution control deadlines as required, and that people living in the Valley can coexist healthfully with industry.”

While SIMC completed some of the water pollution control measures required in the initial agreement, SIMC failed to apply for permits for the air pollution control equipment needed to decrease its pollution discharges by December 2018. This failure resulted in significant delays in installing the required air pollution control equipment.

Permitting for the new air pollution control equipment is already underway, but is anticipated to take several months to complete. The new agreement imposes the following deadlines for completion of the air pollution controls, tied to the date of permit issuance:

o Trommel enclosure: Within 21 weeks of permit issuance. Estimated completion in April 2021.

o Wind fences: Within 23 weeks of permit issuance. Estimated completion in November 2021.

o Shredder enclosure: Within 63 weeks of permit issuance. Estimated completion in August 2022.

The new agreement also includes significant penalties against SIMC if it fails to comply with the new deadlines.

In addition, the amended consent decree prohibits SIMC from operating its shredder equipment – a major source of air pollution – on Saturday afternoons, Sundays, and federal holidays during the dry season until the new air pollution control equipment is operational. SIMC is also obligated to perform continuous dust emissions monitoring under the direction of an air pollution expert for two additional years after the air pollution controls are operational to determine their effectiveness, and take additional corrective actions if the expert determines the controls are not effective in reducing dust concentrations.

The new agreement requires SIMC to continue stormwater monitoring and maintain stormwater treatment facilities implemented under the original consent decree. Other requirements in the original consent decree are still in force. See prior press release for summary.

Immediate and expansive improvements are needed as local residents continue to be disproportionately affected by the pollution from SIMC’s facility, compounded by the impacts of the West Seattle Bridge closure and the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2013 report that examined a range of disproportionate health exposures and impacts affecting people in the Duwamish Valley revealed that the 98108 zip code (where SIMC is located) has some of the worst air quality in the region. Driven by community health concerns, the initial settlement required dust controls intended to reduce the disproportionate burden on residents who rightfully deserve a clean and healthy living space.

The Duwamish River also supports significant wildlife populations, including endangered Chinook salmon.

For backstory, go here – that’s our report from early last year on a community briefing about the settlement.

ALSO TODAY, ONLINE: Northwest Green Home Tour, day 1

September 12, 2020 11:13 am
|    Comments Off on ALSO TODAY, ONLINE: Northwest Green Home Tour, day 1
 |   Environment | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

Just got word of one more online event today with West Seattle involvement: The first of two days for the Northwest Green Home Tour, all online this year. It’s continuing until 1 pm today, showcasing both new houses and remodels, and again 9 am-1 pm tomorrow. Word comes from WSB sponsor West Seattle Realty, which is presenting one of today’s “stops,” the Tsuga Townhome project. Ticket options (including a free pass for the hours the tour is “live”) are here.

West Seattle woman launches Poogooder to ‘do some good’ – a solution to ‘dog-poo wars’ and ‘wasted waste’

A West Seattle woman has launched what she hopes will be a solution to the acrimony that is so often set off by the subject of dog waste – and ultimately a solution to its environmental effects. Lori Kothe has hatched the plan for Poogooder. After she mentioned it on Twitter, we invited her to email us so we could share the concept with you. Here’s her story:

My daughter Annika is a 3rd grader at Alki Elementary. Back when she started kindergarten, I was shocked to discover the massive “wayward” dog-poo issue around Alki Elementary and the beach. Dog poo was everywhere, and we were always at risk of stepping in some. So I started recording how many instances I’d find when I’d walk to the beach from the school and back to my car each morning. I talked to people with and without dogs about their poo stories. And EVERYONE had a poo story. I did research. Dog=poo wars are no joke — they cause crazy levels of neighborhood angst, pollute waterways and soil, spread disease, and ruin a person’s day if they step in some. But it’s still a persistent issue.

So I decided to do something about it with the hope of at least creating greater awareness and empathy so people might care more about their (often unintended) impact on each other, the shared community, and planet (that’s truly my bigger purpose and goal here, which is why the tagline is “Let’s do some good today.”).

On a grander scale, unfortunately right now in Seattle, “properly disposed of” tons of dog poo goes to the landfill, so if we can get people to start paying more attention to how and where they are disposing of dog poo, my hope is Poogooder becomes a catalyst for local governments to start implementing dog-poo composting capabilities (or other landfill-diverting solutions), ultimately making dog poo go from being a bane to a boon for society.

Big ideas, I know. But we’re talking TONS of wasted waste and community uproar. So back to the story, literally: My original intent was just to write a picture book for kids and work with educators, local governments, shelters/rescues where people adopt dogs, and orgs to create a program around it to help instill empathy and raise awareness and inspire action and behavior change. So I wrote and illustrated Oh Poo! A Cautionary Tale,” which I self-published in June, and I thought that would be it. But then I figured I had to walk the walk, so to speak, and the Poogooder movement was born. First I put up 2 community dog poo bag dispensers near my home (49th Ave SW & Juneau in Seaview), and that was nice. People started using them. But then I realized I would truly have to commit to the cause and remove all barriers to proper dog-poo disposal, so in July I set up a community dog-poo bin in my front yard. I’d seen 2 others in West Seattle, which really impressed me. It’s funny to think how excited I was when I started getting poo in my bin! (This is 2020 after all, so everything is weird).

That’s when I decided to see if I could get others to steward nice-looking dog-poo bins & bag dispensers in their yards or nearby areas like Little Free Libraries, with the goal of recruiting 30 West Seattle volunteer Poogooders to steward bins the month of October for the first pilot program and collect learnings and see how things go. Ideally we then scale and partner with cities, orgs, schools, and shelters for a complete solution, including the city providing a voucher or free extra garbage can to offset Poogooder personal costs/garbage space for collecting poo in their bins. And of course, I’m hoping all shelters and rescues encourage a “Poogooder Pledge” as part of the adoption process to reframe the dog-poo conversation from a punitive action to a positive purpose. I’m not sure yet what kind of business model this will turn into or how it will be funded; my goal right now is proof of concept and inspiring a movement.

The Poogooder Approach:
Empathize > Engage > Educate > Enlighten > Enable

I’m just getting started. I’ve recruited about a dozen West Seattleites, with 5 confirming they will steward bins for the pilot so far, and interest is growing. I’m paying for everything out-of-pocket right now (and I’m woefully unemployed), which is why I set up the GoFundMe page, but I want there to be as little barrier to entry as possible at first so we can prove that people will actually willingly accept other people’s dog poo for the sake of the greater good.

I’m seeking volunteers, partners, sponsors, stewards, advisors, and connections to help bring this to fruition.

One way to help is via Lori’s crowdfunding page. You also can contact her via the link on the Poogooder home page.

SMOKY SUNSET: Air-quality alert might be extended, as hottest day of the week approaches

September 9, 2020 8:12 pm
|    Comments Off on SMOKY SUNSET: Air-quality alert might be extended, as hottest day of the week approaches
 |   Environment | West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

(Photo by Gene Pavola)

Wondering when the smoke will finally go away? The air-quality alert that’s in effect because of wildfire smoke is currently set to expire at 11 am tomorrow, but the National Weather Service’s latest “forecast discussion” suggests it might be extended:

Currently, air quality is considered moderate for much of the forecast area, with the exception of the Greater Seattle area, as well as near Olympia, where it is Unhealthy for sensitive groups. These levels are expected to stay in place, and possibly to get worsen if fires continue to spread. Because of all this, an Air Quality Alert will remain in place until tomorrow and will likely be extended into Friday. Additionally, we will also be monitoring the smoke from the CA and OR fires that is off the coast, and will eventually be pushed back eastward.

Also of note – tomorrow is expected to be the warmest day of the week, with the high likely reaching the upper 80s.

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

If you’re weary of the dry weather – we might get some rain Monday.

SMOKE: Another murky night in West Seattle

(Photo by Mike Jensen)

The wildfire smoke is expected to hang around at least into Wednesday morning – that’s when the current Air Quality Alert expires. Right now, as this map shows, local readings are all in the “unhealthy” range. This is all from wildfires that, in our state, burned 330,000 acres yesterday alone. For our area, there’s some good news, though – the forecast has pulled back a bit on the feared mini-heat wave … now it looks like three days ahead in the 80s, no more talk of 90s.

VIDEO: Lincoln Park’s underwater forest

In the 360-degree videos above and below, “Diver Laura” James takes you into the kelp forest off Lincoln Park.

Laura has been doing some informal research on the kelp, which was reported to be far denser along Puget Sound shores decades ago, before various man-made/-caused changes to the shoreline. If you’ve been observing the area – walking, boating, even diving – over the past 20 to 30 years, she would love to hear from you – info@diverlaura.me is the email address.

E-RECYCLING: Reminder – nearby drive-up event on Saturday

If you can’t wait until The Junction’s big reuse/recycle/shred event next month, 3R Technology in nearby Georgetown invites you to its free event tomorrow:

10 am-2 pm Saturday, 8/29/2020 in Georgetown at 3R Technology

5511 1st Ave South [map]

Finish up that house-cleaning you started during the lockdown. Bring those old household electronics you haven’t laid hands on in years, and the bundles of power adapters to things you don’t own anymore…

Almost all electronics will be accepted: TVs, computers, laptops, printers, cell phones, pretty much anything with a power switch! We will also provide free, confidential data destruction, battery disposal, media shredding, and office furniture disposal.

A few guidelines to keep us all safe:

-Please have all the materials you wish to recycle in your trunk or backseat.

-Please wear your face covering while materials are being retrieved from your vehicle.

-Please stay in your vehicle, unless otherwise instructed to do so.

-Please do not attend if you are sick.

NEIGHBORHOOD INSPIRATION: Sowing security and serenity at Puget Ridge Edible Park

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Among the pandemic’s side effects: A growing interest in food security, resulting in more vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

West Seattle’s Puget Ridge neighborhood is years ahead of the trend.

The 2/3-acre city-owned, community-tended mini-farm at 18th and Brandon known as Puget Ridge Edible Park (PREP) is in its fourth season, and feeding even neighbors who haven’t been participating in growing crops.

One way is through a monthly free “farm stand” for neighbors. We visited PREP during this month’s farm stand, which drew visitors even though it was happening in the heart of last Sunday’s upper-90s heat. Whlle some volunteers helped neighbors fill bags and baskets with fresh vegetables including squash, beets, chard, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, as well as bundles of herbs, others worked the land.

Longtime sustainability advocate Stu Hennessey led a community contingent shepherding the site from dream to reality, promising the Parks Levy Oversight Committee in 2010, as they considered funding the site purchase, “We will be producing a lot of food on this land.” And so they are, six years after site development began with demolition of an old house.

(L-R, Stu, Helen, Rudy, Joy, Chris, Kerry)

Stu says they changed the operational plan this year – instead of a monthly work party, they amassed a core group of volunteers who work on the site more frequently. It’s not just one big garden like, for example, the High Point Market Garden, but it’s instead split into sections, including a “giving garden” and a “food forest,” with fruit trees including apples and plums.

For the future, there are hopes of an “edible playground” where kids can dig and learn as well as play. And Stu says PREP nourishes in another way: “This park has become a special place for many to escape the daily concerns brought on by current events.”

They’ve made the most of the land that’s being used on the site. Near the farm stand, one patch held sunflowers towering over beans and lettuce. And though the site is a city park, “We don’t go to Parks for anything,” Stu says proudly – the volunteers manage it all, with some donations and purchases (piles of wood chips, for example). They’ve also raised some funds through SeedMoney.org.

The community synergy goes beyond offering free produce to neighbors; they plan to support the Delridge Grocery Co-op when its store is up and running. More broadly, they hope to inspire other neighborhoods. Even if you don’t have an entire parcel to farm, there are other creative ways and places to grow food.

This year’s growing season at PREP, meantime, is expected to stretch at least into October, Stu says. Maybe beyond, if they get some winter crops going. There’s still space left, and there’s room for more neighbors to get involved – if you’re interested, you con contact Stu via email, alkistu@hotmail.com.