Environment 1586 results

MLK DAY OF SERVICE: West Seattle volunteers give the greenbelt some help

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has become MLK Day of Service for many, and in West Seattle, that included several environmental-restoration/cleanup projects today. We stopped by the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association Nature Team work site in Pigeon Point Park, part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt urban forest, adjacent to Pathfinder K-8.

This is a labor-intensive, long-running project to give the life-sustaining forest some help by beating back invasive plants. Removing blackberry growth was a focus for the nearly 30 volunteers who turned out today. In the spring, work parties will focus on planting – but at this time of year, the ground has to be cleared and readied to receive those new plants. DNDA has frequent volunteer opportunities for this area and other parts of the West Duwamish Greenbelt – check them out, and sign up if you’re interested, by going here.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Restoration in the rain at Seola Pond

(WSB photos)

Earlier this week, on a rainy afternoon much like today’s, dozens of volunteers spent hours planting in the Seola Pond wetland [map], working with Arbor Heights resident Scott Dolfay, who’s been leading restoration efforts there for years.

This week, the volunteers included dozens of students and staff from Explorer West Middle School and The Bridge School (both WSB sponsors). Dolfay explains, “The planting was the culmination of previous work this year, beginning with site prep by Dirt Corps, funded by the King County Noxious Weed Control Program. When the restoration effort was started in 2017, 2 grants were received; one from The Washington Native Plant Society, the other from the King County Unincorporated Community Service Area Program. After a one-year hiatus, beginning in 2019, the KC Noxious Weed Control Program began to fund both site prep and native plant purchase. Additionally, volunteers have stepped up along with some local businesses.”

Dolfay is seeking another King County grant to keep the project going, adding that the community help has been invaluable: “As always, volunteers can stretch the budget. People have provided native plants from their yards, too.” As noted in our 2017 report, the site – along the Seattle/unincorporated King County line – is used as neighborhood open space, in addition to its official function as stormwater storage. It hosts wildlife, too – including the ducks we saw during the restoration work party:

WEST SEATTLE HOLIDAYS: How to get Pathfinder’s famous handmade wreaths this year

Every year for a quarter-century, Pathfinder K-8 students and families have made and sold wreaths as a fundraiser – and they usually sell out. Pre-pandemic, the Pathfinder wreath booth was a fixture in The Junction on Farmers’ Market Sundays, but again this year, they’re only selling the wreaths online – here’s the announcement:

Pathfinder K-8 PTSA is holding our 26th annual wreath fundraiser to benefit outdoor education and classrooms at Pathfinder K-8 School. You usually see us in The Junction during Farmers Market days in December, but due to the pandemic, we have our 100% homemade wreaths available for sale online.

The evergreens in every Pathfinder wreath are foraged from downed branches from this season’s windstorms and salvaged from Christmas tree lots (thank you, Trees by the Sea on Alki, Home Depot, and McLendon), and the flowers and seedpods are clipped from our yards. Then members of the Pathfinder community build each wreath by hand. Each wreath is unique and has been made in one of our distanced, backyard workshops this past week.

Right now we have a good selection of beautiful wreaths available at www.pathfinderk8ptsa.org/shop. If you don’t see something now, check back tomorrow! The inventory is constantly being updated with new wreaths. After purchase they can be picked up at our workshop on Puget Ridge.

Thank you for supporting the kids at Pathfinder School!

If you lose track of this later, you’ll also find the wreath sale listed in the Trees/Wreaths/Greenery section of our West Seattle Holiday Guide.

UPDATE: ‘RV remediation’ planned for SW Andover

ORIGINAL REPORT, MONDAY NIGHT: Last Wednesday afternoon, just before the long holiday weekend, “No Parking” signs went up along the stretch of SW Andover where more than a dozen RVs are usually parked along the south side of Nucor Steel (a source of growing concern for the plant, as reported here two months ago).

(WSB photo, Wednesday night)

The infosheet that accompanied the signs cited only “RV remediation,” Because of the holiday, we were not able to reach city departments until today to ask what that will involve. Seattle Public Utilities is the lead agency, so here’s what spokesperson Sabrina Register tells us:

Seattle Public Utilities’ RV Remediation Program works to reduce negative impacts to public health and safety by removing garbage and debris from roads, sidewalks, and the public right-of-way near RVs. This effort started initially as a pilot in November 2017 in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, program staff observed safety protocols and best practices based on guidance from health experts, including maintaining social distancing during cleanups of areas impacted by RVs. SPU staff passed out purple trash bags to assist people with cleaning around their vehicles and aimed to gain voluntary compliance from RV owners.

In October 2021, the program ramped up to engage RV occupants to voluntarily move their RVs, which allows crews to clean and remove garbage, waste and immobile, unoccupied vehicles that pose a major health and safety risk. 

Days prior to a clean, staff trained to support RV occupants connect with them to let them know about an upcoming remediation clean, so the occupants can prepare to move their vehicle on the morning of the clean. If an RV is occupied but inoperable, staff work through our community partners to try to assist that person, including help with a battery jump, fuel, or a spare tire. SPU’s goal is 100% compliance with RV relocation in order to remove garbage and debris, plus address any fluids or materials that could enter a storm drain. RVs that are abandoned, derelict or pose a public health risk may be towed on a case-by-case basis.

The RV Remediation clean taking place along the 2400-2600 blocks SW Andover will involve multiple City departments, including SPU, SDOT and SPR.

The “No Parking” signs that went up Wednesday (but were not in view this afternoon) were dated tomorrow through Sunday, so it’s not clear what day the work will happen; we’ll go by periodically but if you see it in progress, please let us know if you can – 206-293-6302 text or voice.

BACKSTORY: We first reported on the RV parking on Andover almost six years ago.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING, 11:11 AM: Thanks to everyone who texted to say it appears the work is beginning. We went by and all we saw was one junk-hauling truck working right at the corner of Andover/28th, with a Parking Enforcement Officer there to direct traffic.

The truck was labeled South Elmgrove; a company by that name is listed online as a city contractor for junk pickup. We’ll be checking back in a few hours.

WEDNESDAY NOTE: We checked back at 3:30 pm Tuesday, no sign of further activity. Went by again just before 10 am today, and junk-hauling trucks are back but no other activity in view.

WEDNESDAY NOTE #2: A reader who works nearby saw at least one RV being towed. We went back over around 3:15 pm, no activity but there seemed to be a larger gap on the north side of Andover – 12 RVs total on Andover and 28th. Tonight another reader reports the RVs all have been tagged.

SAVING ROXHILL BOG: First, fix ‘the bathtub’

(Images from meeting presentation – above, Roxhill Park and Bog)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Imagine you want to take a bath – but not only can you not draw enough water to fill the tub, the water you do get keeps draining out.

That’s the problem with Roxhill Bog, experts and advocates believe, and as unveiled at this week’s community meeting, they have a plan that might fix it.

“Might” is the important word here – so they’re going to try an experiment on part of the endangered wetland, which is all that’s left of a 10,000-year-old peat bog that once stretched far beyond the remnant that exists – dry as it is – mostly on the south side of city-owned Roxhill Park.

Wednesday night’s meeting had many of the same participants who gathered more than a year and a half ago – just before the pandemic shut down in-person meetings – to accelerate the effort to keep the bog from being lost forever.

This time, interested and/or involved parties gathered online to talk and hear about what’s been learned and what happens next.

Read More

FOLLOWUP: The Heron’s Nest gets a big boost toward goal of buying and repatriating West Seattle site

(WSB photo from September – Amanda Lee at The Heron’s Nest)

Two months ago, we reported on The Heron’s Nest, a site in the West Duwamish Greenbelt where volunteers have been working on a plan to purchase a site for environmental education and repatriate it to the Duwamish Tribe, whose Longhouse is nearby. At last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, Amanda Lee from The Heron’s Nest gave an update and announced the project had received a city grant of nearly a million dollars. We followed up with Lee this morning and received the announcement they’re making:

The Shared Spaces Foundation is excited to announce a major milestone in its efforts to fundraise for the Heron’s Nest, a project aimed at preserving 3.56 acres of land in the West Duwamish Greenbelt for community use, stewardship, sustainable education, and repatriating it to the Duwamish people. On October 5th, the City of Seattle issued a $900,000 grant from its Strategic Investment Fund to the Shared Spaces Foundation. These funds will allow Shared Spaces to purchase the land currently used for the Heron’s Nest, serving as the first step in the repatriation process.

The Duwamish people have resided in present-day Seattle and King County since time immemorial. Where they once inhabited 50 villages in the Puget Sound area, they now own less than an acre of land and have been unfairly stripped of their federal recognition. Preserving this land will increase the footprint of land access by 5x for Duwamish Tribal Services.

The Shared Spaces Foundation currently leases the 3.56-acre parcel just a short walk from the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in West Seattle. This undeveloped parcel was, until recently, destined to become the site for a new housing complex. Now, with the help of the SIF grant, the Shared Spaces Foundation will be able to preserve the land from destructive development and allow the Heron’s Nest project to continue the steps they have already taken to restore its indigenous vegetation and ecology, improve its productive uses, and provide for public access and education. Over 5,000 hours of community volunteering has been put into the restoration and construction efforts since the Heron’s Nest founding at the beginning of 2020.

In time, the Heron’s Nest will include the development of sustainable, community-accessible facilities including campgrounds, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor classrooms, tool libraries, an urban farm and agroforest, a recycling center, and a natural aquaculture pool. Once restored and with the above amenities in place, the land will be given back to the Duwamish people and be used for community benefit.

However, the Shared Spaces Foundation must continue its fundraising efforts in order to bring the full project to fruition. The entirety of the SIF grant will be applied toward the purchase of the land. To fund the remaining services and facilities, Shared Spaces is driving a community-giving effort. Shared Spaces looks to raise another $500,000 for materials, staffing, and operational costs, and have set a target deadline for the end of 2021. A successful fundraising campaign this Winter will allow for many of the facilities to be operational by Spring 2022.

In addition to further grant funding, the fundraising efforts include an upcoming holiday market at the Heron’s Nest, a recent dinner and auction held on October 16th, and utilizing the space for community events, nature viewing parties, and workshops. To learn more about the vision for the land and the scope of the project, visit: www.TheHeronsNest.org

Lee says the holiday market is scheduled for December 11th – more on that when it gets closer.

YOU CAN HELP: West Seattle ‘all-hands cleanup’ Saturday

This Saturday, 10 am-1 pm, you’re invite to be part of am “all-hands cleanup” centered on four areas of West Seattle, with the local volunteer coalition CleanupSEA. Their announcement:

A CLEANER SEATTLE IS IN REACH. GRAB YOUR SPOT & JOIN US! Pick a cleanup zone and join us at 10 AM on November 13 for the first-ever CleanupSEA West Seattle all-hands volunteer cleanup event. Bring your friends and family for a beautiful fall day outside together. Bags, gloves, vests, and nifty trash grabber picker sticks provided. Bring a 5-gallon bucket if you have one. Masks required. Clean for 5 minutes or 3 hours. It’s all good.

*Please RSVP and sign up to the respective cleanup below so we can plan accordingly. Sign-up not required, but appreciated.

• Alki Beach (meet at the Alki Bath House)
• Alki Elementary (meet at Alki Elementary Playground)
• Seacrest Park / Harbor Ave (meet outside Marination Ma Kai)
• Under the West Seattle Bridge (meet outside Chelan Cafe; please park nearby, not in cafe parking lot)

FREE COMMUNITY CLEANUP EVENT. EVERYONE WELCOME. Presented by CleanupSEA in coordination with Seattle Public Utilities Adopt-a-Street and Alki Elementary PTA Eco-Heros program. Questions? hello@cleanupsea.com

To RSVP, go here.

ROXHILL BOG: Resuming the struggle to save a 10,000-year-old ecosystem

(WSB photo, April 2019)

Just before the pandemic wiped most other concerns off the map for a long time, in February of last year, a “stakeholders meeting” shone the spotlight on endangered Roxhill Bog (part of Roxhill Park). Now the struggle to save it is back on the front burner, and another community meeting is planned. Here’s the announcement/update from the Duwamish Alive Coalition:

The second public meeting for the community led restoration of Roxhill Bog will be held online November 17th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, to provide an update on the hydrology study of why the wetland has been drying out and possible solutions along with the results of the community survey that was conducted. The online link to the meeting can be accessed by registering through DNDA.org or Duwamishalive.org

Roxhill Bog is one of the last peat wetlands of the historical 26 within Seattle, dating back 10,000 years and home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals. It’s also the headwaters of Longfellow Creek and an important community asset where the community can experience and learn about nature. Over the last couple decades, it has been drying out, which has significantly degraded its ecosystem – with increased invasive plants, loss of wildlife, and unsuitable usage of the area creating safety concerns.

Community members, alarmed about the loss of this community treasure, created a collaborative partnership with the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, Duwamish Alive Coalition, Roxhill Champions, and American Rivers to help restore the bog wetland. With help from Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. the partnership was able to acquire funding for the hydrology and soil studies and the community survey, which received over 260 responses, and restoration design.

The November 17th public meeting will review the results of the studies, and community survey and seek input on the restoration design. This is an important opportunity for the community to provide comments about the project and their hopes for the wetlands’ future.

For backstory, see our report on last year’s meeting. There’s also a lot of background on this webpqge assembled by the now-dormant Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council.

Welcome, salmon: ‘This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek’

(WSB photos)

“Welcome.”
“Thank you.”
“You can do it.”

Those are a few of the messages written on small pieces of driftwood and placed on the bank of Fauntleroy Creek this afternoon during the annual gathering celebrating salmon spawners’ imminent return.

Co-host Judy Pickens of the Fauntleroy Watershed Council said her message was “the power of hope … This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek.” The hope is that volunteer creek-watchers will see coho soon. Dennis Hinton, also on the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, said there’s reason for hope:

He told the more than 30 people in attendance that a potential spawner had been seen near the creek’s mouth on Saturday, a four-to-five-pound female. A high tide of at least 11 feet is needed to get fish into the creek, and many upcoming days will oblige. Last year, two spawners showed up; the record was 2012, with volunteers counting 274.

The centerpiece of today’s celebration, as always, was music, led by Jamie Shilling (above), with attendees young and not-as-young joining in singing and percussion – with instruments from drums to tambourines to plant pots. Some songs are annual favorites, including “Habitat,” to the tune of the 1959 song “Lollipop“:

Shilling also led a new song, singing: “We are the voice of the earth, and we are rising up, rising up …” With those lyrics, participants pointed their message-bearing driftwood sticks skyward;

What happens from here is up to the fish, and the creek:

If spawners are present on a weekend, Pickens promises, the Fauntleroy Watershed Council will host an “open creek” – and we’ll announce it here on WSB.

FOLLOWUP: EPA sticks with plan to allow higher levels of a Duwamish River pollutant

(WSB photo, September)

Back in February, we reported on the EPA‘s plan to make a change in the Duwamish River cleanup plan, allowing higher levels of a particular pollutant, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a “carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH).” The higher levels would be allowed because a review process dating back to 2013 had determined the pollutant was less cancer-causing than previously believed. After a public comment period and further review, the EPA is finalizing what it originally proposed. Here’s the one-sheet explanation:

EPA spokesperson Bill Dunbar says, “Due to the reduced risk, EPA Region 10 has revised the allowable levels of cPAH at the Lower Duwamish Waterway. The higher levels will provide the same level of human health protection. The new levels are expected to reduce the areas where waterway sediments require Superfund cleanup by less than five percent. PCBs remain the main source of risk to people’s health from the site. People can be exposed to PCBs if they eat fish and shellfish that spend their lives in the river, or contact sediment during beach play, net-fishing, and clamming. cPAHs do not accumulate in fish but are found in clams. EPA estimates that since 2012, average levels of cPAHs and PCBs in Duwamish Waterway sediments have been reduced by half as a result of early cleanup actions, control of pollution sources, and burial by cleaner sediments from upstream. Future cleanup to reduce PCBs will also reduce cPAHs.”

This change is part of what led the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition to organize a rally for the river just two weeks ago. DRCC executive director Paulina López tells WSB that while the EPA’s decision is troubling, there’s some hope: “Unfortunately, the change EPA approved means that our communities will be exposed to higher levels of carcinogenic PAHs — in our river sediments, and in our fish and shellfish. We do not believe that this is health protective, especially for an Environmental Justice community with multiple, cumulative exposures. We are encouraged, however, that the impact of EPA’s change will be minimized as a result of our City, County and Port’s stated commitment to stay the course and clean up all of the cPAHs as originally ordered by the 2014 cleanup decision. DRCC will still call on our local governments to stand by this commitment and we look forward to working with them to secure EPA’s cooperation and support. to protect our communities, our fishers, our habitat. “

REMINDER: Plastic-bag ban expands beyond the city this Friday

Back when Seattle banned single-use plastic bags for grocery stores and many other businesses nine years ago, some pointed out they would still be able to get them nearby, with unincorporated King County right next door. Starting this Friday, that changes, as the statewide plastic-bag ban goes into effect, nine months later than originally scheduled. Here’s an overview from the state Department of Ecology; take note of this part:

If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags offered by a merchant, the law requires the business charge 8 cents per bag. That 8-cent-charge is not a tax; it is a sale kept entirely by the merchant to provide an incentive for customers to bring their own bags and to recoup the costs for the more durable compliant bags.

Food banks and pantries, and individuals receiving food stamps, WIC, SNAP, or other government assistance are not subject to the 8-cent charge. Some single-use plastic bags are exempt from the law, including plastics to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.

‘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.