Environment 1575 results

‘River for who? River for all!’ Rallying for, and over, the Duwamish

(WSB photos)

As changes in the Duwamish River cleanup plan have been proposed in recent months, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition at first offered information and urged community members to participate in the comment process. But now it’s turned up the pushback a few notches – including a community rally tonight in South Park.

After gathering at South Park Plaza, nearly 100 river supporters of all ages, with signs in many languages, walked up onto the South Park Bridge‘s pedestrian path.

As participants stood along the bridge, passing drivers – from scooters to industrial trucks – beeped their support.

DRCC’s executive director Paulina López, engagement manager Adrienne Hampton, and Superfund manager James Rasmussen got to the heart of the reason for the rally – holding government and industry accountable for keeping their cleanup commitment: “This is not just a river for Georgetown and South Park. This is a river for the whole city. … Imagine what it could be like when we get the reast of the job done.”

DRCC sounded the alarm because of what it calls a “triple threat” to the river – including proposed changes to allowable pollutant levels as well as proposed changes in the cleanup itself – all explained here. (We also covered one of the proposals here.)

Their decision for a more visible form of resistance appears to have already had results. This afternoon, hours before the rally, the city, county, and port announced a letter to the EPA urging that cleanup commitments be met. We asked López about the letter; she said she was glad to see more pressure on the EPA, because “they are not listening to us.” DRCC is hoping that will change with more voices – “stay involved, keep fighting … continue to advocate for the Duwamish River” was the request at rally’s end.

FRIDAY: Duwamish River rally to show concern about plans to change the cleanup

(WSB photo: August vessel traffic on the Duwamish River)

The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition wants to call attention to ongoing challenges to the river’s health as well as proposed changes in the ongoing cleanup, so it’s inviting you to a rally/walk by the river on Friday.

We are deeply concerned for the health of the Duwamish Valley communities as a result of proposed changes to how EPA and members of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group intend to clean up our Duwamish River. WITHOUT community consultation, EPA and these responsible parties recently proposed three changes to our river cleanup that increase toxic exposures and health risks to our community and undermine our hard-won river cleanup, which violates EPA’s and Ecology’s environmental justice policies, ignores our local governments’ stated commitments to equity, and threatens to further exacerbate pronounced health disparities that have been documented in our communities. The Duwamish River must be recovered to standards that support our community and fishing for future generations. We demand health justice, especially for community members who have been historically marginalized, silenced, and disproportionately burdened with the legacy pollutants that have given rise to this cleanup.

There’s more info here about what the DRCC calls the “triple threat.” The rally/walk is set for Friday (September 24th), starting at 5 pm, at South Park Plaza (14th Avenue S./Dallas Ave. S.; here’s a map). All ages welcome.

NOT HAPPENING: Fall Recycle Roundup. Here’s what to do instead

A few have asked about the date for Fauntleroy Church‘s next Recycle Roundup. Though a date had tentatively been set for one this fall, organizers weren’t able to get their usual partner to commit, so it’s NOT happening. While awaiting the next time they do get one scheduled, here’s what you can do if you have recyclables beyond what is accepted at curbside: Use the “Where Does It Go?” lookup. It will point you to options including scheduling an extra-cost special curbside pickup. If you’re looking specifically for electronics recycling, here’s who’s in the Take It Back Network, including some drop-off spots as close as SODO.

The Heron’s Nest Project: A dream with the chance for you to be the wind beneath its wings

(WSB photos. Above, Amanda Lee at The Heron’s Nest)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Off Puget Way – one of the few streets that connect to busier-than-ever West Marginal Way – a parcel of land is in the process of healing from decades of serving as a dumping ground.

A group of passionate volunteers are working not only to heal the land, but to use it to help heal injustices done to the area’s First People.

Read More

HELPING: Volunteer cleanup brightens part of Highland Park/South Delridge, and you can help make another one happen

Want to feel as good as those volunteers felt after a community cleanup in Highland Park/South Delridge? You can help neighbor Vivian McPeak – who sent the report and photos – organize another one:

Last weekend Seattle Hempfest teamed up with The Full Spectrum (America’s only LGTBQIA+ cannabis advocacy group) to send our volunteers out into multiple Pac NW communities to pick up trash and discarded plastics. We called the project The Great Community GreenSweep.

We hit neighborhoods in Lake City, Capitol Hill, Mukilteo, Tacoma, and West Seattle, to name a few. In West Seattle, we focused on the area of Highland Park at Delridge north of Roxbury all the way to Henderson … up and down Henderson to Barton, and up to 16th Ave SW, cleaning areas that were seriously strewn with litter and trash on both sides of the street and sidewalks. Those areas are now nearly pristine and looked as if they had not been cleaned for some time.

TommySound on Delridge hosted our safety training and served as a meeting space.

There is still a lot of trash on Henderson (especially around the bus stop near Barton) and surrounding streets. I personally live near 16th and Henderson. I am wondering if there are others in my neighborhood who would be willing to join me on some coming weekend to finish the job? Anyone interested can contact me at director@hempfest.org

McPeak is “especially concerned about discarded single-use plastics that break down into microplastics and end up washed into drains bound for Puget Sound, where they pose a potential threat to wildlife and the biosphere.”

WEDNESDAY: EPA explains another proposed Duwamish River cleanup change

August 24, 2021 10:52 pm
|    Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: EPA explains another proposed Duwamish River cleanup change
 |   Environment | West Seattle news

The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting comment on another Duwamish River cleanup change, and offering an informational session Wednesday night (August 25th) to explain it. This part of the cleanup is known as the Jorgensen Forge Sediment Cleanup, and while it’s not in West Seattle, much of the river runs along the peninsula’s eastern edge, so its health is of local importance.

The pollution is from what the EPA describes as “a steel and aluminum forging and distribution facility” at 8531 East Marginal Way [map], where, the EPA continues, the “riverbanks and sediments next to the facility are contaminated with toxic metals and PCBs that may pose a risk to people’s health and to the environment. The Earle M. Jorgensen company removed some of the contaminated riverbanks and sediments in 2014, but they left some of the pollution in place.” Now the EPA is taking public comment on cleanup alternatives for the contaminated sediments.

The comment period was extended until September 27th by request of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, which is concerned about the change. The DRCC says, “Jorgensen Forge and EPA propose to allow the company to abandon PCBs in the river bottom that it left behind in violation of EPA orders, saving the company millions of dollars. Jorgensen Forge was cleaned up as an Early Action Area because it had some of the river’s highest levels of contamination and posed an immediate threat to people’s health. The company violated EPA’s cleanup order for the site, leaving behind high levels of PCBs and burying them under backfill. The company was fined and a new cleanup order was prepared. Now EPA proposes to allow the company to leave behind much of their mess, allowing them to cheat and run.”

The EPA has a fact sheet here; the DRCC has one with information on how to take action, here. To attend the EPA’s information session Wednesday at 6 pm, register here. The DRCC is having an information session too, on September 6th – email contact@duwamishcleanup.org for information on how to participate. You can also comment on the proposed cleanup alternatives without attending either session – Region10@epa.gov is the email address.

SMOKE UPDATE: Cleaner air tonight

(Photo tweeted by Aaron)

11:14 PM: Though tonight brought another pink-globe sunset, if you observed closely, you could see the smoke wasn’t as dense as last night – the sun was visible all the way until it “touched” the Olympics.

(Texted photo)

The air quality is better now, because the remaining smoke is “aloft” rather than down at ground level, according to the National Weather Service. So will tomorrow’s sunrise still be pink too?

(Saturday sunrise photo by Marc Milrod)

The NWS says, “Elevated smoke will continue across the area tonight, then decrease from the west on Sunday.”

1:03 AM: Orange-red moon again tonight – Monica Zaborac sent the photo:

SMOKE: Wondering when it will clear out?

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

9:34 PM: Tonight, the sun didn’t set behind the Olympics – it set behind the smoke, well before it would have gotten to the point where the mountains become the western horizon. After a day of ever-thicker alert-level smoke, red dots are all over the air-quality map. Here’s what the National Weather Service says in its newest regional Forecast Discussion:

Surface smoke should gradually clear out Saturday, but pockets of poor air quality are likely to stick around. The skies will remain hazy through the rest of the weekend though as smoke at the upper levels is expected to stick around through Sunday.

(Photo by Gene Pavola)

The heat warning is still set to expire Saturday evening, and tomorrow’s temperature is only forecast to get into the 80s; Today’s official high was 91, down four degrees from Thursday.

10:21 PM: After the pink-red sun, the orange-red moon – another photo sent by Gene Pavola:

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: More heat, smoke Friday

(Photo by David Hutchinson)

10:35 PM: Once the smoke started moving in at midday, you just knew the sun was going to turn that telltale pink before setting. The smoke is expected to linger through tomorrow; as noted earlier, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and regional public-health departments have issued an alert because of it. Checking the air-quality map tonight, most areas are in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range right now. As for the heat, today’s official high was 95, and tomorrow could see the mid-90s again. So far, though, Saturday is still looking like an improvement; the Excessive Heat Warning alert expires Saturday evening.

FRIDAY MORNING: Just in case you wondered … same thing for the Friday sunrise, Jerry Simmons shows us:

Learn about the Duwamish River @ next Words, Writers, Southwest Stories

It runs along much of West Seattle’s eastern edge, but what do you really know about the Duwamish River? This Thursday night, online, here’s your chance to find out more. The announcement is from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

Words, Writers & Southwest Stories, a speaker series of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, is excited to announce that it is hosting BJ Cummings for a live Zoom presentation on Thursday, August 12 at 6:00 PM. Cummings will deliver a presentation on her book “The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish.” Registration is required. Please register HERE.

With bountiful salmon and fertile plains, the Duwamish River has drawn people to its shores over the centuries for trading, transport, and sustenance. Chief Si’ahl and his allies fished and lived in villages here and white settlers established their first settlements nearby. Industrialists later straightened the river’s natural turns and built factories on its banks, floating in raw materials and shipping out airplane parts, cement, and steel. Unfortunately, the very utility of the river has been its undoing, as decades of dumping led to the river being declared a Superfund cleanup site.

Using previously unpublished accounts by Indigenous people and settlers, BJ Cummings’s compelling narrative restores the Duwamish River to its central place in Seattle and Pacific Northwest history. Writing from the perspective of environmental justice—and herself a key figure in river restoration efforts—Cummings vividly portrays the people and conflicts that shaped the region’s culture and natural environment. She conducted research with members of the Duwamish Tribe, with whom she has long worked as an advocate. Cummings shares the river’s story as a call for action in aligning decisions about the river and its future with values of collaboration, respect, and justice.

BJ Cummings is the author of “The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish” (UW Press 2020), winner of the Association of King County Historical Association’s 2021 Virginia Marie Folkins Award for outstanding historical publication. Cummings founded the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition in 2001, served as the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s “Soundkeeper” from 1994–99, and as Sustainable Seattle’s Executive Director from 2016–18. She is currently the Community Engagement Manager for the University of Washington’s EDGE and Superfund Research Programs in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department in the School of Public Health, and is the co-author of several community health studies, including the Duwamish Valley Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis and Duwamish River Superfund Cleanup Plan Health Impact Assessment.

Cummings holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Geography from UCLA, and is the author and producer of numerous articles, books, and documentary films on environment and development issues locally and throughout the Americas, including her 1990 book, “Dam the Rivers, Damn the People: Resistance and Survival in Amazonian Brazil” (Earthscan/WWF UK), and 2000 documentary film “Ecosanctuary Belize” (Outside Television). Her work has been featured in Outside Television’s documentary film, The Waterkeepers and PBS Frontline’s Poisoned Waters, as well as numerous regional news outlets. Over the past two decades, Cummings has been recognized as a National River Network “River Hero,” Sustainable Seattle’s “Sustainability Hero,” King County’s Green Globe winner for Environmental Activism, recipient of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s “Inspiration Award,” and one of Seattle Magazine’s “10 most influential leaders.”

This presentation is part of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is grateful to Humanities Washington for their support. This series is open to hosting any author or speaker addressing historical issues relating to the Puget Sound/Duwamish Peninsula and/or the general public. Additional information on future presentations can be obtained by contacting Dora-Faye Hendricks, Chair, ‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories’ by phone at 206-290-8315 or by e-mail at Dora-Faye@comcast.net.

VIDEO: Rally for the River seeks support for saving orcas by saving salmon via dam-breaching

(WSB photos/video)

This weekend, Elliott Bay is open to chinook-salmon fishing. So fishing boats were on the water this morning while activists gathered on land to demand action they say can keep the chinook from going extinct, along with another species of mammals that needs them even more than we do – the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Specifically, the Endangered Species Coalition and other groups want four dams on the Lower Snake River in Eastern Washington breached so chinook salmon can reach spawning grounds more easily. This weekend they hosted “Rally for the River” gatherings in six spots around the Northwest, and the rally spot in Seattle was just west of Seacrest. Some supporters came from afar:

Those two are members of the North Olympic Orca Pod, from Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The sign mentioning the Elwha refers to a dam removal project from last decade, considered a success. But that was just part of the puzzle for saving chinook salmon. Four hydropower dams on the Snake River in eastern Washington must be breached, advocates say, before it’s too late (read the backstory here). Time is ticking, with the presumed death of another Southern Resident orca K21. A moment of silence for him was part of the speaking program at the rally, featuring representatives of the Endangered Species Coalition, Duwamish Tribe, Environment Washington, and Orca Conservancy.

It’s not a matter of demolishing the dams, they contended – “All we have to do is move some gravel aside and let them run free.”

After speeches, some rally participants kayaked to Jack Block Park

… while others walked.

They’re particularly looking for support from Washington’s U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and have a take-action webpage here. The politicians, for their part, have said that any plan for the dams must address other factors too, such as electricity generation and farmers’ needs.

FOLLOWUP: Beaches reopened after 2 weeks of sewer-leak closure

Thanks to commenter Bryan for reporting that the signs came down today on the South Alki beaches affected by a sewer leak from the Harbor West condos on Beach Drive. Seattle Public Utilities confirmed to WSB tonight that “Samples show acceptable levels and in consultation with Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle Public Utilities staff have removed the warning signs and reopened the beach. It’s been almost two weeks since first word of the leak.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle beach pollution from condo sewer problems not over after all

(WSB photo, last week)

Nine days after we first reported on warning signs south of Alki Point because of a sewer leak on private property, the problems aren’t over after all, Seattle Public Utilities confirms. Two days after that first report, SPU told us the leak had stopped, but bacteria levels were still high enough to keep nearby beaches closed to water activities. Then on Wednesday a reader tipped us that more signage had gone up east of Alki Point, including one seen at 64th/Alki. So we checked back with SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register, whose reply identifies the problem property for the first time:

Seattle Public Utilities staff continue to test water samples daily to determine when the beach can safely reopen to water activities. Since the July 13 discovery of the overflow caused by a broken side sewer at a multi-unit building at 3717 Beach Drive, samples have shown higher than acceptable levels of bacteria. Continued high readings of bacteria revealed additional sewer-related issues at the multi-unit building and prompted SPU’s Spill Response team to extend and expand the beach closure .

SPU property owners are responsible for maintaining their sewer lines and any discharges from unmaintained lines can result in fines. SPU will issue a notice of violation to the property owner.

Tide flows and the availability of contractors have impacted their repair schedule. Repairs are scheduled to begin (today). SPU staff will continue to work with the building owner and Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when water activities along Beach Dr. can safely resume.

3717 Beach Drive is the Harbor West condo building, built on pilings over the water. The complex had a major sewer leak back in 2013.

FOLLOWUP: Seattle-to-Alaska cruises officially resume today, after 2 years

(Sunday photo of Elliott Bay, sent by Mark)

Seattle’s been seemingly awash in cruise ships for days now, so you might be surprised to hear that the official Seattle-to-Alaska season starts today. Around 5 pm, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas is scheduled to leave the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in Magnolia, and that’ll be this year’s first boatload of paying passengers (previous voyages have been “test cruises,” explained here). To mark the occasion, the Port of Seattle invited the media to a dockside briefing this morning. It included a ceremonial moment – the ship’s Captain Stig Nilsen presenting port executive director Steve Metruck with a plaque and a model of the ship.

(WSB photos from here down)

Metruck declared that cruising is returning with improvements. Ships have implemented stringent COVID protocols, for one. But after our previous mentions generated reader discussion about environmental concerns, we asked Metruck what’s changed along those lines, He mentioned that the terminal at Smith Cove is equipped with shore power, and that it’s in the works for Pier 66 downtown. We learned from another port official, however, that this particular ship is not shore-power-ready, so it’s not plugged in, though the other ship currently berthed at Smith Cove, Majestic Princess, is. Maritime Managing Director Stephanie Jones Stebbins also told us that shore power capability for Pier 66 is scheduled to be ready for the 2023 cruise season – the problem until now, she said, is that they would have had to run a line from the Denny substation about a mile east, requiring a lot of road demolition, but instead, they came up with a way to route it via an underwater cable from Pier 46 to the south.

The emission situation, said Jones Stebbins, is not only a matter of plugged in vs. unplugged. She said exhaust scrubbing – explained here – is being used. Environmental advocates, however, say that just swaps air pollution for water pollution; Jones Stebbins says ships cannot discharge the scrubber water while berthed here. The state has a Memorandum of Understanding with the cruise industry on multiple environmental issues.

P.S. After today, the next official cruise departure is on Friday; here’s this year’s schedule.

(Added 7:15 pm: Serenade of the Seas departing Elliott Bay)

Weed Warriors win victory in Myers Way Parcels wetland restoration, with Camp Second Chance help

What you don’t see in this photo along the east edge of the city-owned Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle is part of what this story’s about. It’s a restored wetland area, tens of thousands of square feet previously choked by blackberries and other weeds, in the watershed of salmon-bearing Hamm Creek.

Those piles are just part of what was removed in a yearlong project led by the nature-steward organization Weed Warriors, including help from residents of Camp Second Chance, which is also on the Myers Way Parcels, where more than 50 tiny houses shelter people experiencing homelessness. On Saturday, several of the camp residents who participated in the restoration project joined Weed Warriors leader Grace Stiller in a celebration at the site, just outside the encampment’s north fence.

Stiller marshaled assistance from organizations including the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, and Puget SoundKeeper to underwrite the restoration project, which also included instruction for the participants. Along with working on the land, they took online classes on topics including plant identification. Saturday’s celebration was a “graduation” too – with certificates, and a chance to sign a new plaque marking the restored area, where project participants planted 175 new trees along with native shrubs.

Weed Warriors teaches a “Code of Environmental Chivalry,” and during Saturday’s event, Stiller ceremonially pronounced program participants to be “Knights of the Living Forest.”

Attendees read aloud from the code – one tenet is “Show courtesy and consideration for the native habitat and wildlife that surrounds us.” Along with certificates and cake, the Saturday celebration also included the presentation of stipend checks – the grants covered $15/hour for work on the site. Stiller hopes to launch the next phase of restoration in the fall, provided the permit process with the city goes as planned. (She also is a member of the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee; we cover its monthly meetings, and that’s where we heard about this.)

FOLLOWUP: Beach Drive leak’s over, but don’t go back into the water yet

(WSB photo, Tuesday)

Two days after those signs went up along the Beach Drive shore from Cormorant Cove Park to Constellation Park, the warning is still in effect. The Tuesday announcement from Seattle Public Utilities attributed the problem to a side sewer. We checked in with SPU today; spokesperson Sabrina Register replied, “The discharge, which was confined to one unit of a multi-unit complex, has stopped. Repairs are scheduled for early next week. Posted signs prohibiting water activities will remain in place for now. Seattle Public Utilities continues to sample the water and work with Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when the area can safely reopen.”

UPDATE: Sewer break fouls Puget Sound off Beach Drive

(Photo from @quapet via Twitter)

3:10 PM: Thanks for the tip and photo. That signage went up at Cormorant Cove Park in the 3700 block of Beach Drive SW – and we just got this Seattle Public Utilities notification explaining why:

Today Seattle Public Utilities responded to a sewer overflow due to a broken side sewer located along Beach Dr near Cormorant Cove. As a result, beaches in the area will be closed to water activities, including Cormorant Cove as well as the beach access at Beach Dr. SW/63rd Ave SW in West Seattle.

Staff will sample the water and work with Public Health-Seattle & King County and Seattle Parks Department to determine when the area can be safely reopened. SPU will provide an update when we have more information. Seattle Public Utilities is working with the property owner to ensure a timely repair of the side sewer.

If you find flooding or sewer backups, please report them to the SPU 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.

5:56 PM: We went down to the shore to check the extent of the signage. It continues northward at Constellation Park, beyond 63rd/Beach:

You asked, so we asked: What’s happening at Morgan Junction Park expansion site

Work has been going on at the Morgan Junction Park expansion site, north of the current park in the 6400 block of California SW [map], but it’s not a sign the long-shelved park-development project is getting under way. That and other “landbanked” park projects (including two others in West Seattle) have been indefinitely idled because of Parks revenue losses blamed on the pandemic. So, some asked, what’s up with the heavy equipment and piles of gravel/rocks that have shown up at this site?

Kelly Goold of Seattle Parks told WSB that it’s “being used by a contractor associated with a SPU project under a Revokable Use Permit. Instead of fees [for using the site] the contractor will perform work on the site – clearing and grubbing of blackberries and invasive, rough grading, limited demolition, and the like.” What’s the Seattle Public Utilities project? We asked SPU’s Sabrina Register, who said the project is almost next door, “repair to a section of the sewer main that runs along SW Beveridge Place as part of a multi-site sewer-rehabilitation project.” SPU has used other Parks property in similar ways before, such as a section of the Myers Way Parcels (explained here). As for the future of the Morgan Junction Park Addition, the site (which formerly held businesses including a dry cleaner) is still set for hazardous-materials remediation at some point in the not-too-distant future – Goold said the funding for that, unlike the park development itself, has not been suspended, but the work has to go out to bid. (Here’s the environmental “checklist” from earlier this year.) The city bought the park site seven years ago; its status is likely to be a topic during the next quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting (7 pm July 21st, full announcement to come).

JULY 21 UPDATE: SPU has corrected which project is being staged at the future park site – it’s for the water-main repair work on SW Othello in Gatewood, not the upcoming Beveridge work.

Guiding Seattle’s industrial and maritime future: Next step, your input

For the past year and a half, a city-convened stakeholders’ group has been talking about the future of Seattle’s industrial/maritime lands and policies. They issued a report last week with recommendations; and the city announced it here. Now, the next step – an Environmental Impact Statement. Before that’s prepared, the city is asking for your input on the scope of what should be studied. A notice was published in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin; we’re publishing the notice in its entirety because West Seattle has such a significant stake in the city’s maritime/industrial future (as the map above, from the report, shows):

Seattle’s industrial and maritime policies are more than 35 years old. With changing trends, there is an opportunity to build an updated comprehensive strategy to strengthen and grow Seattle’s industrial and maritime sectors for the future. As part of this strategy the City of Seattle is studying a proposal to update its industrial and maritime policies and industrial zoning. Four alternatives, including the no action alternative have been identified for study in an Environmental Impact Statement.

The proposal addresses all lands zoned Industrial General (IG1 and IG2) zones, the Industrial Commercial (IC) zone, and the Industrial Buffer (IB) zone and land within two Manufacturing Industrial Centers (MIC): Seattle’s Greater Duwamish Manufacturing and Industrial Center (Duwamish MIC) and its Ballard Interbay North Manufacturing Industrial Center (BINMIC).

The Director of the Office of Planning & Community Development has determined this proposal is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment. An environmental impact statement (EIS) is required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c) and will be prepared. The lead agency has identified the following areas for study in the EIS to determine if there are any significant environmental impacts: * Biological Resources and Resiliency: Water Resources/Climate Change, Soils/Geology, Plants and Animals
* Environmental Health and Compatibility: Contamination, Noise, Light and Glare, Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases
* Mobility and Freight
* Land and Shoreline Use
* Housing
* Open Space and Recreation
* Historic and Cultural Resources
* Public Services: Police, Emergency Services, and Schools
* Utilities

Materials related to the proposal including alternatives may be reviewed at OPCD’s offices or on the department’s website:
seattle.gov/opcd/ongoing-initiatives/industrial-and-maritime-strategy#whatwhy.

Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the scope of the EIS. You may comment on the proposal, the alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, and licenses or other approvals that may be\ required. More specifically, comments should focus on the elements of the environment that should be addressed in the EIS, analysis that should be done and the alternatives that the City proposes to study, including any reasonable alternatives to those proposed.

Comments may be submitted by letter to OPCD at the address below; by email to PCD_Industry_And_Maritime_Strategy@seattle.gov ; or at a virtual scoping meeting to be held on Wednesday July 21 at 9:00 a.m. or Monday July 26 at 6:00 p.m. Meeting details will be posted at: seattle.gov/opcd/ongoinginitiatives/industrial-and-maritime-strategy#whatwhy.

The deadline for agencies, tribes and the general public to submit scoping comments is 5 pm, August 8, 2021.

FOLLOWUP: Is Terminal 5’s modernization bad news for endangered resident orcas? One environmentalist turned port commissioner says no

(2020 photo of then-newborn resident calf J57: Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tomorrow, the Northwest Seaport Alliance‘s managing members – the port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma – get their quarterly update on the modernization project at Terminal 5 in West Seattle.

(June photo by Stewart L.)

Four big signs of that progress drew a lot of attention last month – the new T-5 cranes that arrived from China. Their arrival sparked some discussion among WSB commenters about whether the dock modernization project is bad news for Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

No, says Fred Felleman, a Seattle port commissioner whose background, before taking office in 2016, was in environmental advocacy. (Checking WSB archives, the first time we mentioned him was when he spoke to the Port Commission in 2015, voicing opposition to the use of T-5 for staging Shell‘s Arctic oil-exploration fleet. That was one of the interim uses T-5 has seen since it went out of regular cargo service in 2014.)

Read More

FOLLOWUP: Fireworks aftermath, more brush-fire calls, and neighborly cleanups

Again this year, we asked for photos of fireworks debris/trash encountered by readers this morning. What you see above is from Kay, who reported fireworks aftermath at Lincoln Park, “from the south parking lot to the pool.” And while we can’t say for sure whether fireworks are to blame, just before 5 am, this fire broke out in trees on the park’s west-facing slope:

Andrew saw it from a ferry; the SFD log shows two engines and a ladder truck were sent. The aftermath of another brush fire is part of Kim‘s report from High Point:

I just went up to Walt Hundley Park with a bucket and garbage picker. There is so much small fireworks debris in the park and street at 34th and Myrtle, I could not pick it all up. I concentrated on picking up the bigger stuff.

It appears there was a brush fire last night across from the park on the weedy slope next to Guadalupe. There is a burned area and the resulting messy mud in the road must be from the water used to extinguish the fire. (I reported this to the city’s Find It Fix It app, along with some big garbage dumped there that was too much for me to manage this morning.)

It’s too bad that the people who create the mess don’t clean up after themselves. But I encourage neighbors to get out and help clean up their neighborhoods today. If this street is any indication, it’s a mess out there.

The SFD log does show a brush-fire call at 1:22 am in that area. Also from High Point, Codrin sent this photo from Viewpoint Park:


Here’s a texted photo from EC Hughes Playground:

Heading north, from Leigh at 36th/Lander:

On my morning walk saw this. Helped a neighbor clean up.

Just one of several photos sent by Pat, at Don Armeni Boat Ramp:

And from Kristina, at Whale Tail Park:

At least they cleaned up the trash? Sounded like a war zone for hours last night.

Thanks again to those who sent photos and/or were out cleaning up this morning – we will add any other photos we receive – westseattleblog@gmail.com.

ADDED 2:28 PM: From Brooke, at Highland Park Spraypark:

It’s not so bad as others but the kids are playing barefoot in/around it. Also the Roxhill park and parking lot were covered with fireworks debris, so much that my kids decided not to play there this morning.

Longfellow Creek polluted by suspected paint spill

(Department of Ecology photo)

An investigation is under way into the source of a spill that has polluted Longfellow Creek in east West Seattle. First, here’s what Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Sabrina Register tells us:

About 10:30 am yesterday, SPU Spill Response responded to a call about a white substance in Longfellow Creek. SPU inspectors determined the substance to most likely be some of latex paint. The amount is unknown but estimated to be in 5-20 gallon range.

Per protocol, staff called Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife and consulted with them on the best course of action. While SPU has captured and disposed of some of the contaminant in the pipe, the two agencies determined last night that a full-scale cleanup of the water would cause more harm than good and recommend leaving the water undisturbed. The water in the creek may be a milky white for a few days to come. SPU Inspectors will continue to source-trace to see if we can find the responsible party and will continue to monitor the creek for several days.

The affected area is centered near 24th/Thistle, a greenspace just east of the Chief Sealth International High School campus, but the spill was followed to an “upstream pipe,” according to information from Ecology that was forwarded by Puget Soundkeeper, which is also monitoring the situation. The Ecology report says part of the reason that pumping out the polluted water isn’t recommended is that it could dry up the creek, which is already in a tenuous situation this time of year, as it’s part daylit, part undergrounded along its path from Roxhill to the Duwamish River.

WEEK AHEAD: Duwamish River cleanup updates Wednesday

(WSB file photo, Duwamish River seen from high-rise West Seattle Bridge)

Seattle’s only river – the Duwamish River. much of which runs along West Seattle’s eastern edge – is the site of an ongoing major cleanup operation, after decades of pollution. This Wednesday morning, you can hear firsthand status reports during the Lower Duamish Waterway Stakeholders‘ next meeting. It’s happening online, and community members are welcome. Attendance information is on the agenda, which makes note of one thing that will not be happening at the meeting: There’s no decision yet on the cleanup-area reduction proposed because of a change in the definition of safe levels of a particular pollutant (as covered here earlier this year). There will, however, be an update on the number and type of comments received on that. Other agenda items include habitat restoration and cleanup milestones. The meeting is set for 10 am-noon Wednesday (June 9th).