West Seattle, Washington
A belated Earth Day note from King County today: Its annual Green Globe Awards were presented on Monday, and the winners included Young’s Restaurant in South Delridge, “the first restaurant to participate in the RainWise program, which offers rebates to property owners who install green stormwater infrastructure.” The county announcement continues:
Supported by ECOSS and its language and multicultural environmental outreach expertise, Young’s installed three stormwater cisterns that will keep more than 11,000 gallons of runoff out of the combined sewer system each year. The King County – Seattle Public Utilities RainWise partnership recently established a “big roof” initiative expanding its work beyond residential structures to capture and divert stormwater from larger buildings.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Many point out that Earth Day isn’t really about saving the planet – it’s about saving those who live on it, ourselves included.
Some are in more imminent danger than others. In particular, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, whose plight was the focus of this month’s Orca Talk, presented by The Whale Trail.
Their population remains at 75, only four above their historic low of 71. “If they go below 71, no one can say whether they’ll come back.”
That was the somber reminder from both TWT founder/executive director Donna Sandstrom and the Thursday night event’s featured guest, retired marine-mammal expert Dr. Tim Ragen. He opened with toplines on his background, including working on the Marine Mammal Commission in D.C. 2000-2013. More recently – in “retirement” – he’s spent time focusing on other species in danger,from Hawaiian monk seals to Florida manatees.
Addressing the status of the SRKWs, Dr. Ragen explained that the number 75 doesn’t tell the whole story.
Thanks to Noirin Lynch of Brownie Girl Scout Troop 41169 for sharing the report and photos of their Earth Day project:
Our Brownie GS troop has been learning all about our watershed and the issues we face in terms of stormwater pollution over the past several months.
Their interest began in the fall with a field trip to see Chum salmon spawn, where they learned about salmon’s need for clean, cool water and the link between declining salmon and declining orca populations from the Mountaineers.
They were then lucky to have local West Seattle fish biologist and stormwater expert Jen McIntyre come teach them about green infrastructure and bio retention methods to help keep toxic stormwater out of our streams and sound. They conducted their own experiments to see what materials work best to naturally filter stormwater.
After all this learning they decided to help the area around their meeting place, Alki Elementary. We met yesterday to help clean the streets and label storm drains in an effort to raise public awareness.
We had a lot of people stop to ask what we were doing and even had a resident come out of their house to thank us and ask how he could join the effort.
By the way, you can get a drain-stenciling kit from the city – here’s how.
Don’t toss it – recycle it!
Twice a year, Fauntleroy Church invites you to bring no-longer-wanted/neeed items to its parking lot (9140 California SW) 9 am-3 pm, and next Sunday (April 28th) sis the day you can drive/ride/walk up to drop recyclables off for free. 1 Green Planet will be there, and the newest list of what they’re accepting this time is here.
Environmental Slam, held last night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge. Above is the Madison Middle School team that won the People’s Choice Award for their presentation “Save the Buzz”; below, Avery Berg from Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor), whose presentation was titled “More Bees, Please.”
Other local students who participated included, also from Explorer West, Cece Pyfer and Faye Turcotte on “Wolves on the West Coast”:
Sims urged the young advocates to nurture their passion as well as their faith in science, telling them that the use of the scientific method, of scientific inquiry, is a key factor in what has made our nation so great. He congratulated them all and noted that even though he’s the owner of a few bee hives, he learned more about bees at the Environmental Slam than in the entire time he’s had those hives. Award recipients included the “Save the Buzz” team (Tim Deppe, Ethan Murray, Lila Kellison-Miller, Lauren Anderson) for the People’s Choice Award and two judges’ awards, the “Wolves” team plus Juniper Copland from The Northwest School, for her presentation “With Love, Water”:
With Juniper above is Explorer West teacher Tim Owens, who coordinates the Environmental Slam, which is presented by the Washington Foundation for the Environment. Prizes go to the causes for which participants advocate.
Police mentioned to community groups including the Highland Park Action Committee last month that the unauthorized-camping area near 1st Avenue S. and SW Kenyon, along the west side of Highway 509, was scheduled for a cleanup. Today, it began. We found the cleanup under way when we went down to the area after hearing an in-passing mention on police radio. Our photos show the cleanup activity visible from the roadside, with heavy equipment much like the operation on the east side of Myers Way last fall:
Roadside trees were posted with this notice, indicating a fairly wide area [map] planned for cleanup today and tomorrow:
In addition to that area, “No Parking” signage stretched northward along 1st and to the west along Highland Park Way east of W. Marginal. To find out more about the cleanup, we contacted city homelessness-response spokesperson Will Lemke, who replied: “The area was posted as a ’72-hour removal,’ which means occupants of the area were given 3 days’ notice and received advanced outreach ahead of the clean-up. Shelter is available for everyone living unsheltered at the site and we will store suitable possessions (not destroyed by water, soiled, etc). Navigation Team was concerned about the accumulation of garbage and waste on site, and the impacts to the natural environment.” He said six people were found in the area before the cleanup: “There were 30 shelter beds available today — including 24/7, enhanced shelter options. 6 people on-site. No word yet if they took shelter.”
Celebrate Earth Day at Roxhill Park Community Fair!
Saturday, April 20th from 11:00 – 1:00
Location: Roxhill Park, parking lot on 29th Ave SW at Barton Street SW
– FREE fun activities and crafts for all ages.
– FREE turkey dog lunch for the first 100 visitors.
Join us in celebrating our local natural areas, Longfellow Creek and its wildlife.
Did you know West Seattle has the city’s largest natural area, its only river, one of its last bogs, and is connected to our orca?
Learn about Longfellow Creek, the Duwamish River, Roxhill Bog, and how its wildlife and salmon are a valuable asset to our area and environment.
All ages are welcome; come rain or shine!
This is a free event, hosted by: Duwamish Alive Coalition, Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle Neighborhood Group, Roxhill Park Champions, Seattle Parks
Just two weeks until your chance to help keep tons of no-longer-wanted/needed items from ending up in the waste stream question via the spring Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church. 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 28th, drive/ride/walk up to the church lot at 9140 California SW with your recyclables, and drop them off for free with the church’s longtime Recycle Roundup partner, 1 Green Planet. If you’re ready to go through your stuff and see what you can unload, compare what you have with the newest list of the dozens of types of items they will accept – see the list here. (That link also includes what NOT to bring.)
Two and a half years ago, we reported on neighbors’ concerns regarding plans for Seattle City Light‘s ex-Avalon Substation site at 3243 SW Genesee. At that time, SCL said it would likely be demolished before the end of 2016, with contamination cleanup to follow. Nothing has happened on the site except for a series of permit extensions for nearby Pecos Pit (WSB sponsor) to use it for parking. But today, City Light has announced that the demolition will happen next week. Here’s the full notice we just received:
Seattle City Light is planning clean up activities at the former Avalon Substation at 3243 SW Genesee Street beginning Monday, April 8, 2019. The work includes demolishing the existing concrete substation and the removal of trees and shrubs.
The work will take place in two phases:
PHASE 1: April 8 – Mid June 2019
Demolition of the existing concrete substation building.
Removal of trees/brushes adjacent to the building.
There will be noise, and disruptions to local traffic, parking, and sidewalks adjacent to the site.
Work will take place Mondays – Fridays between 7 am-5 pm.
PHASE 2: Contaminated soil removal will occur later in 2019 – you will receive notification
For further information, please contact Senior Project Manager, Molly Rathe, at (206) 684-3351 or Molly.Rathe@seattle.gov.
The site also has a rezoning action pending, “to contract rezone a parcel of land from SF 5000 (Single Family 5000) to NC3-65’ (Neighborhood Commercial 3 with a 65-foot height limit),” and a comment period just opened for that (here’s the notice); we have an inquiry out regarding plans for the site beyond the demolition and cleanup.
A question about the date for the next Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church reminds us that it’s time to remind you – exactly one month away! 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 28th, you will be welcome to drive/ride/walk up with your recyclables for free dropoff with the church’s Recycle Roundup partner, 1 Green Planet. Just be sure it’s on the newest list of what they’re accepting – see that list here. It all happens in the parking lot outside the church, 9140 California SW.
Thanks to Taproot School for the photo. A group from the independent K-5 school headquartered at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse held signs on the bluff over the ferry dock as part of today’s nationwide Youth Climate Strike. (added) Kersti Muul sent this video, happening onto the group after she visited nearby Fauntleroy Creek to check out the salmon fry:
We’ve heard of one other potential event later today – anyone else?
ADDED: Thanks to Christine for the photo of Plant for the Planet youth leaders at the citywide rally at Cal Anderson Park – four of the five are from West Seattle, she notes:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We get – and appreciate! – reader tips about new businesses now and then.
Seldom, however, do they include as much excitement and enthusiasm as the tips we received about Ridwell expanding into West Seattle.
One person who identified herself as a happy customer in another neighborhood wrote, “This awesome new local company has a great story and an even better mission and they are coming to West Seattle next!”
Indeed they are – officially starting next Monday. If you haven’t heard of Ridwell, maybe you heard of its previous incarnation as Owen’s List, which began as a father-and-son adventure in recycling reusables, making a match between items no longer needed by some but much-needed by others.
Since then, Owen’s dad Ryan Metzger joined with business partners to morph it into Ridwell: “Because Owen’s List was so popular, people would say, ‘can I pay you for what you’re doing?’.” Ridwell is based on Queen Anne, with some storage facilities in Ballard, and now, with the addition of West Seattle, serving pretty much the entire city. ”
Ryan was in West Seattle the other day as part of the expansion, so we sat down for a chat over coffee. He explained how Ridwell works: Subscribers get a porch bin and cloth bags for the types of material they currently collect – plastic film, styrofoam, “threads” (clothing etc.), light bulbs, batteries. They have a fifth “rotating” category that is generally the type of pickup that Owen’s List inaugurated – something to donate to an organization that needs it. (One collection that’s coming up will be kitchenware for refugee families.)
Ridwell finds the market for the material – plastic film and styrofoam, for example, are taken to Kent; the film eventually becomes the decking material Trex; the foam is compressed into a material that, Ryan says, is used in products such as picture frames.
You pay a monthly subscription fee – lower if you commit to a longer period (starting at $10/month currently) – for a pickup every two weeks. West Seattle will be Mondays, for starters. And while the accessibility issue means they are starting as a service mostly for single-family homes, Ryan says they want to serve more multi-family buildings and are interested in hearing from anyone who wants to be part of a pilot project.
The company is small now, still using cars rather than trucks to make most pickups – “we can fit 30, 40, 50 people’s (recycling) in a car!” – but expecting to grow beyond the Seattle city limits: “The response has been great!” enthuses Ryan.
And toward the goal of efficiency/sustainability – subscribers opt in for pickups via email or website – so if you don’t need one, they won’t stop by. You can find out more at getridwell.com.
Two weeks ago, we reported on a state Department of Natural Resources-contracted crew removing creosote-contaminated logs from the Fauntleroy shore, one of many cleanups they do on shorelines around the state each year, with hopes of doing more. Resident Mike Dey (who also leads the Fauntleroy Commmunity Association) shares word of the final total – “45,960 pounds of contaminated logs from Fauntleroy Cove and another 16,580 pounds from Lincoln Park for a total of 62,540 pounds of creosote laden logs from the beach. (The DNR) said this may be the largest collection they have ever had from a continuous private beach. Quite a haul.”
Big news from Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens: “(Volunteer) Dennis (Hinton) just spotted six fry zipping around in the lower creek – our first sighting of home hatch from the fall spawning!” That’s two days after volunteers’ “snow-postponed planting party” – here’s Judy’s report:
A dozen volunteers came out over the weekend to install 200 native plants on city-owned property in lower Fauntleroy Creek.
The work party was part of a multi-year Green Seattle Partnership project to improve water quality, eliminate invasive species, and benefit wildlife. A contractor has been weeding the 12,550 sf open-space site adjacent to the fish ladder and planting the steep slope.
Forest steward Peggy Cummings organized the planting party for the Fauntleroy Watershed Council.
Back to the salmon: Volunteer creek-watchers counted 18 last fall.
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Area residents gathered Wednesday night to hear details about a $1 million settlement requiring Seattle Iron & Metals to make changes in response to long-standing concerns with water/air pollution and safety.
The community briefing, held on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Georgetown campus, focused on the details of the January settlement between SIM and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, in cooperation with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.
Last August, we covered a similar DRCC briefing following the barge fire at Seattle Iron and Metals that prompted a great deal of community concern. Safety concerns stemming from that incident were part of the Wednesday night discussion, which included representation from numerous area entities, including SIM itself.
Six months ago, we covered a Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition-led briefing on the aftermath of the barge fire at Seattle Iron and Metals. Tomorrow night, you’re invited to another DRCC-led community briefing related to the same company, this time focused on the recent settlement detailed by Puget SoundKeeper here, requiring the company to make $1 million in improvements to address long-running water- and air-quality concerns. The briefing is planned for 6 pm in the Gene J. Colin Education Hall at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), 6737 Corson Ave. S., all welcome.
A crew working for the state Department of Natural Resources is back out on West Seattle beaches this week, cleaning up creosote – a toxic threat you might not even recognize as you walk along beaches strewn with old pilings containing literally tons of the substance long used as a wood preservative.
We were invited to photograph a cleanup site just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock on Wednesday when state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was visiting the crew. While the beachfront property there is privately owned, part of the tidelands belong to the state, which obtained access agreements with dozens of property owners to facilitate this part of the cleanup.
Crew members are cutting up creosote-contaminated wood and loading it on board this vessel:
From there it’s taken across Puget Sound to Manchester in Kitsap County, and transported from there to a landfill. Before our visit, they had already removed 20 tons of contaminated wood – DNR’s aquatics restoration manager Christopher Robertson explained that every linear foot of a log like this could contain a gallon of liquid creosote, which he described as “very nasty stuff.”
You’ve heard that toxins in the water is one of the biggest threats to Puget Sound orcas. That makes this removal a boon to them, as well as to the salmon they need to survive. Part of Commissioner Franz’s reason for visiting is to highlight her budget request for the coming year, to better fund this and other projects vital to protecting the state’s environment.
Franz would like to double the amount of creosote that the state can remove. Right now, this project only has access to one six-person crew, two weeks a month; ideally, Robertson and fellow aquatics restoration manager Monica Shoemaker told us, they could keep half a dozen crews and a fleet of boats busy.
By the way, while on the beach, we learned about a new app that you can use to help if you spot debris on the beach – like this damaged float that had appeared sometime within the previous day:
It’s a threat to marine wildlife and birds because it contains styrofoam that looks to them like yummy fish eggs:
You can report something like this via the MyCoast app, in which our state is a participant – find out about it here. Besides “large marine debris,” derelict vessels are another category of reporting for which you can use MyCoast. Back to the creosote removal:
This isn’t new – the state’s been doing it for more than a decade. But unfortunately it’s the kind of work that has to be repeated – there’s so much creosote out there, any beach is vulnerable to something more washing up. Fauntleroy is just one of many beaches where the state is doing this work.
So much natural beauty in West Seattle – particularly in our parks. Want to help others learn about and enjoy it? This opportunity is for you!
Seattle Parks and Recreation is accepting applications for our Seattle Urban Nature Guide program. Up to 50 applicants will be accepted into this unique program that includes training on how to be a naturalist and interpret the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest.
The program is entirely free, and those accepted into the program make a one-year commitment Training, includes 5 weeks of classes and outdoor instruction in which new volunteers learn naturalist programming and the natural and cultural history of the Puget Sound area. Higher priority will be given to volunteers interested in guiding school programs in West Seattle.
Volunteers will have access to an excellent natural-history library, develop and hone communication, public speaking and group management techniques; and promote conservation and stewardship of natural resources.
“The people who enter this program have a chance to share fun, fellowship and community with others who enjoy nature and appreciate parks,” said professional Seattle Parks and Recreation Naturalist Penny Rose, who oversees the program.
Volunteers who complete the training are then asked to commit to at least one year of volunteering, including guiding 8 programs for school groups or public programs. Continuing education is offered throughout each year.
Successful applicants will enjoy working with children and the public, have the physical ability to lead group walks over rough terrain, feel comfortable working outdoors and would enjoy volunteering in West Seattle at Camp Long, Longfellow Creek or other parklands.
Applications for the volunteer program are due on Thursday, March 21st. Training begins at the end of March and continues through April.
For more information, and for a complete application packet, please visit our website, or contact Penny Rose at email@example.com.
No calendar-highlights list today because of the overnight windstorm, but if you check the calendar itself, you’ll see a few events including this – the West Seattle Rainbow Girls‘ annual Christmas tree recycling event at the Masonic Center in The Junction. We just went over to be sure the storm hadn’t changed their plans and confirmed they ARE there in the parking lot (40th/Edmunds), taking trees by donation until 1 pm (that’s an earlier cutoff time than announced) – that’s Laurel in our photo. Unlike curbside recycling, you don’t have to cut your tree into sections to drop it off.
A big announcement tonight from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
As we move into the new year, DRCC/TAG is excited to announce that Paulina López will be our new executive director, effective January 1, 2019.
Our coordinator, James Rasmussen, is stepping into a new, part-time, technical lead role within the organization as he moves toward retirement in a few years. James has truly been an inspiration for his work on the river. He has provided a powerful voice for the river, wonderful leadership for the organization, and has always strived to put the community first. With James at its helm, the organization has grown and thrived. We are not only very thankful that he will continue to provide insight and guidance to DRCC/TAG but also thrilled that he will be able to ensure that the EPA RoundTable and other initiatives will be responsive to community needs and vision.
Originally from Ecuador, Paulina has made Seattle her home over the past 15 years and has been with DRCC/TAG for eight years. Paulina has over 25 years of experience working with issues of civil rights, social justice, equity, education, and diversity. She has and continues to demonstrate commitment and engagement in the community through the advocacy of multiple important civic policies including access to a safe, clean environment for families in the area. Paulina has worked on numerous initiatives and campaigns that have focused on building political power and advancing policies related to issues surrounding race, immigration, the environment, and social justice. She has thrived by pushing for inclusive processes that place those most impacted and affected by issues of inequity and injustice at the center of decision-making.
Paulina created and co-led our Duwamish Valley Youth Corps Program and worked as a Community Engagement Director, advocating for community members to participate in the complex cleanup process and to have a voice. She has served as an expert on the City of Seattle’s Equity and Environment Agenda, Port of Seattle’s Near Port EJ Project, Equity Cabinet of the King County Land Conservation, and on Public Health Seattle and King County’s Health Impact Assessment, among others. Paulina is passionate about community engagement and advocacy for human rights issues especially for underrepresented communities and the issues that affect them. Paulina graduated from St. Thomas University with an LLM, Master of Law in Intercultural Human Rights. She has been an organizer, advocate, full-time volunteer and the mother of three boys under the age of 13.
“My eight years working at DRCC have been an incredible journey and I’m excited to take this next step. When I first got to know this organization, I was impressed by the deep history of the work, the clarity and vision to advocate for environmental justice issues. Also, most of all the inspiring people giving so much of their time to engage the most impacted in my own neighborhood of South Park. It has been an honor to serve here and one of the most important experiences of my life where I learned to appreciate existing networks and bring peoples’ voices to complex systems of government. I look forward to continuing to work together for justice and equity to mobilize resources for the Duwamish Valley as we build collective power to make our community, our cultures, and our ecosystem thrive. Together we will continue our unique and powerful legacy” — Paulina López
We are elated to make this announcement and look forward to the continued growth of DRCC/TAG building on the hard work of James, Paulina, and all of the staff, board, community advisory committee, volunteers and most importantly neighbors and community members.
From Seattle Public Utilities: No huge rush to get your Christmas tree, wreath, and other holiday greenery out for recycling this year:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) invites Seattle residents to compost their Christmas trees and other holiday greens for free through January 31, 2019. Residents should place trees or bundled greens next to their food and yard waste cart on their collection day. Apartment residents may place two trees next to each food and yard waste cart on each collection day. Trees must be cut into lengths of four feet or less and all decorations, lights, tinsel, and other decorations must be removed.
In addition to curbside collection, Seattle residents may drop off trees and other holidays greens for free at SPU’s north or south transfer stations through January 31. Stations will accept up to three trees per vehicle.
Composting Christmas trees is just the beginning when it comes to holiday recycling. Many common holiday items can be recycled or reused. Customers can find out how to cut down on the amount of holiday waste that ends up in the landfill by checking SPU’s Where Does It Go tool.
P.S. Reminder that except for Monday customers, pickup is delayed one day this week and next since there was no pickup on Christmas Day and won’t be any on New Year’s Day.
The montage and message are from Lisa McGinty of Friends of Lincoln Park:
A grateful thankYOU to the awesome volunteers who came out last Sunday! 100 more trees and shrubs planted and a large patch of invasive plants removed!
If you get a chance to visit the park over the holidays, don’t forget to take a deep breath and thank the forest for all the hard work it’s done for us this year! See you in 2019 🌿✌️🌲
FLiP and other organizations kindly share work-party announcements with us for the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – so you know when and where to help out!
This past summer, a change in the lighting at BNSF Railway‘s yard in SODO was glaringly obvious, so to speak, for some east-facing West Seattle residents. The railroad said in a Twitter exchange with one West Seattleite three months ago that it planned to make changes. Finally, those changes are being made. Max tipped us today that BNSF regional spokesperson Courtney Wallace had sent word that work is under way, and she confirmed to WSB:
We are installing a series of color filters that are meant to resolve the brightness issue and will be re-aiming the current fixtures. Work on the north side of our SIG yard has been completed by our environmental team. Filters will be applied to lights in the main SIG yard this Tuesday and Wednesday 12/18-12/19 and continuing on Friday. We hope to have the project complete by this weekend.
(SIG stands for Seattle International Gateway.) Though east-facing West Seattleites are used to port and bridge lighting, the brightness of these fixtures were described by multiple people we heard from as “light pollution.”