West Seattle, Washington
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.”
Back in October, during opening ceremonies for the fall Duwamish Alive! event, Willard Brown was honored as a Green-Duwamish Champion for his work saving and restoring the Delridge Wetlands Natural Area – a former Seattle City Light substation site. Today he got to celebrate the award at the site with some of his youngest partners in the restoration work:
Students from nearby Louisa Boren STEM K-8 use the site for outdoor environmental education. Today they were going to plant a tree in Willard’s honor, but the ground was too hard to dig after multiple mornings with sub-freezing lows! So that’ll have to wait for a warmer day.
Willard led the wetland project as part of his work for the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, from which he recently retired. DNDA executive director David Bestock talked with the students about his accomplishments.
Willard is one of the first to be honored as a Green-Duwamish Champion; the Duwamish Alive Coalition explains that the award is meant “to recognize and honor those individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to improving the health of the Green-Duwamish Watershed,” adding:
Willard’s dedication to a wholistic approach of engaging and improving the community, its environmental health, education, and wellbeing is exceptional. His vision of “kids across all demographics, income, language, race, culture, all are equal in their support and stewardship of the habitat that they inherit,” has been his driving motivation, supplied by his never-ending positive energy which has helped Nature Consortium/DNDA open a new chapter in its legacy.
The Delridge Wetlands site is at 23rd/Findlay.
10:51 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the photos from Fauntleroy Creek earlier this week. Spawning season continues and she photographed those eggs, explaining, “Some critter had dragged them up on the banks. Eventually they were eaten but it took a few days … which surprises me! Seeing that we have otters and raccoons and birds a plenty.” She also shared this photo of the 13th coho counted in the creek, a ~3-pound female:
We’re checking on where the count stands. (UPDATE: Creek steward Judy Pickens tells us it’s at 18 – that’s more than 4 times last year’s four-fish count.)
ADDED 3:55 PM: Judy has since announced there’ll be another “open creek” tomorrow:
We’ve seen 18 coho to date, witnessed active spawning, and continue to have favorable tides for bringing in more fish. Volunteers will host an “open creek” Saturday (11/10) afternoon from noon to 3:00 at the fish ladder (SW Director and upper Fauntleroy Way SW). Come to the viewpoint there and a watcher will invite you down. Children need to bring a parent and dogs should be leashed and well behaved. Decking and steps will likely be wet, so use caution.
P.S. Bonus video from Kersti:
She explains, “It’s from yesterday, a spawning pair activity making a nest, with a little Jack trying to have a turn but getting turned back by the larger male.” (A “jack” is a salmon returning a year earlier than they usually would.)
(WSB archive photo)
Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens tells WSB that this year’s gathering to call the salmon home won’t just be drumming and singing – you’re invited to bring your fish jokes, too. It’s generally a short but memorable gathering, all ages welcome (if your kid[s] made salmon hats at last Sunday’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival, those are extra-festive), 5 pm Sunday (October 28th) at the fish ladder at Director/Fauntleroy – upslope and across the street from the ferry dock (map).
In the hours before the sun broke through today … 15 sites along Seattle’s only river and in its watershed got some love from hundreds of volunteers during the fall edition of the twice-yearly mega-work-party known as Duwamish Alive! But first … it was time to celebrate its champions:
At center above, Willard Brown, recently retired from the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, was honored as a Green-Duwamish Champion. (The Duwamish River begins as the Green River.) His award was presented at a Duwamish Alive! event along Longfellow Creek in North Delridge – with emcees including State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon – while at T-107 Park on the river, the opening ceremony included honors for another “champion,” Port of Seattle biologist George Blumberg:
The Duwamish Alive! opening there was emceed by James Rasmussen, who leads the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. He spoke of T-107 Park’s importance as “the only place where the old river still lives,” and told the story of how it was spared from development by the discovery of archaeological significance – “my ancestors reached up and saved this place.”
He and Chris Wilkie from Puget SoundKeeper both spoke of the river’s significance to salmon runs and how that in turn affected the fate of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Here are both of their speeches on video:
The Duwamish Valley Youth Corps stopped for a photo op before it was time to grab shovels and get to work:
At T-107 Park, they and other volunteers were planting on the shore, while others took to the water for cleanup work:
As always, the kayaks were courtesy of West Seattle’s Alki Kayak Tours/Mountain to Sound Outfitters. Back at Longfellow Creek, volunteers were digging in too:
The Longfellow Creek included the first-ever Arabic-language Duwamish Alive! group. Among the participants were Nada Almaslmani, below left, visiting from Jordan:
With Nada in our photo, West Seattleite Bridgett Chandler. Fall is considered perfect for planting so roots can grow before the ground gets too cold in the winter – then they’re perfectly set to grow full-speed-ahead in spring.
The next Duwamish Alive! event will be in spring. But you don’t have to wait that long to spend a little time doing a lot of good in local parks and other greenspaces. Our calendar features work parties every weekend
One week from Saturday, the fall multi-site Duwamish Alive! event asks you to spend a few hours helping the river, which also will help the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales who need the salmon supported by healthy habitat. Here’s the reminder:
What is the connection between the Duwamish River and our local Orca? The Duwamish River is home to 5 species of salmon, including the vital Chinook, which is a critical food source for Puget Sound Orca. Orca depend on the dwindling Chinook runs for the majority of their diet, and Chinook depend on healthy salmon habitat in the Duwamish.
Duwamish Alive! on October 20th will have volunteers working throughout the Duwamish Watershed to improve the health of our green spaces, creeks and especially our Duwamish River, which provide salmon critical habitat. Volunteers are needed at many local sites which provide critical habitat for our community and our river.
Duwamish Alive! celebrates the connection of our urban parks and open spaces to our river, wildlife and community. Starting at 10:00 am, volunteers of all ages, at multiple Duwamish sites throughout the watershed from river to forest, will participate in a day of major cleanup and habitat restoration in the ongoing effort to keep our river alive and healthy for our communities, salmon and orca.
A special opening ceremony will be held at T107 Park, across from the Duwamish Longhouse at 10:00, with special honoring of George Blumberg and Willard Brown for their work in restoring the Duwamish.
T107 Park 9:45 – 10:30 am
Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribe
James Rasmussen, Presentation of Honors
Chris Wilke from Puget Soundkeeper, Stewardship
Sameer Ranade from Front and Centered Highlighting I-1631
Longfellow Creek at Greg Davis Park 10 am
Representative Joe Fitzgibbon from the 34th District, State House
Duwamish Alive! is a collaborative stewardship effort of conservation groups, businesses, and government entities, recognizing that our collective efforts are needed to make lasting, positive improvements in the health and vitality of the Green-Duwamish Watershed. Twice a year these events organize hundreds of volunteers to work at 14 sites in the river’s watershed, connecting the efforts of Seattle and Tukwila communities.
To volunteer, visit DuwamishAlive.org to see the different volunteer opportunities and to the contact for the site of your choice, or email email@example.com This is a family-friendly event for all ages – tools, instruction and snacks are provided.
The two sites with opening ceremonies are only two of many along the river and its watershed.
Big haul last Sunday for the latest Recycle Roundup! Judy Pickens just sent the results:
Despite its being a Seahawk Sunday, the September 23 Recycle Roundup collected 13.5 tons of recyclables – in the top three since Fauntleroy Church teamed with 1 Green Planet in 2010 for this event. An estimated 475 vehicles came through the line to offload all manner of things now on their way back to the resource stream. Watch for the next roundup in April.
Things are moving fast at the fall Recycle Roundup in the lot at Fauntleroy Church! Multiple trucks/trailers from 1 Green Planet and lots of help. Just drive/ride/walk up before 3 pm and give them your recyclables – first look at the list (PDF) to see what they are and are not accepting this time. Free! The church has been hosting these events since 2010 and they always leave the peninsula tons lighter.
“Spring cleaning” is what you hear about most often – but tomorrow’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church brings you an opportunity to start fall with some cleaning too. 9 am-3 pm on Sunday, the church parking lot (9140 California SW) welcomes you to drop off items for 1 Green Planet to recycle. The list of what will and won’t be accepted is here. No charge, though the church accepts donations if you want to help support the twice-yearly Recycle Roundups. Rain or shine!
You don’t have to leave the city to enjoy nature – or to teach kids about it, which is the goal of a Seattle Audubon looking right now for West Seattle volunteers. The announcement, from Wendy Walker:
Do you know how spiders navigate their own webs without getting stuck, or why tree leaves are different shapes? Explore these and other fun science topics with Seattle Audubon’s *FUN (Finding Urban Nature) program.
The FUN program introduces 3rd-grade students to the nature in their schoolyard habitat and examines how each organism depends on others to survive. Volunteers lead small groups of four to seven students through a series of outdoor investigations, which teach kids to use their senses and scientific practices to discover the importance of urban biodiversity firsthand.
Four lessons in the fall and four more in the spring give students the opportunity to build knowledge and observe seasonal changes in their schoolyard habitats. We are currently recruiting for volunteers for the fall lessons at Sanislo, Lafayette, and Genesee Hill Elementary Schools.
A volunteer training will be held in early October at Genesee Hill, and in-school lessons will be held at each school beginning in October.
Interested? E-mail Wendy at FUNvolunteer@seattleaudubon.org to receive an application and schedules.
One week from today is not only the first full day of fall, it’s also one of two days each year that the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee invites you to a Recycle Roundup! We thought you might appreciate a reminder in case today’s weather is keeping you indoors. 9 am-3 pm on Sunday, September 23rd, you can ride, drive, walk, roll up to the church parking lot (9140 California SW) and drop off items for 1 Green Planet to recycle. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the list of what they are (and aren’t) accepting this time. It’s free (though of course the Green Committee appreciates donations to help it keep offering these events every fall and spring) – see you there!
A family-friendly vigil happening Saturday, September 15 near the Pier 91 cruise terminal will highlight how human-caused climate change is impacting the health of the world’s oceans, especially the Arctic. The vigil will feature a floating art installation in Elliott Bay of a polar bear perched on a melting iceberg.
The vigil is happening on Arctic sea ice minimum day, the annual day when the sea ice extent is at its lowest. Sea ice minimum — which occurs in mid-September of each year — happens when the ice stops melting and the glaciers begin to accumulate again. The vigil will also draw attention to the role cruise ships play in accelerating the melting ice in the Arctic and contributing to sea level rise by burning heavy fuel oil, the dirtiest fossil fuel available for marine transportation.
The event coincides with two other international vigils for Arctic sea ice minimum day, in London and Rotterdam. The event is also part of the region-wide Salish Sea Day of Action.
The vigil is happening by the Magnolia cruise-ship terminal 3-5 pm. (The ship in the background is the new megaliner Norwegian Bliss, docked today at Pier 66 downtown; the port touted its environmentally friendlier features earlier this year.)
Time to start getting your recyclables together for the fall Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church. Judy Pickens sends the reminder that it’s set for 9 am-3 pm Sunday, September 23rd – drive, ride, walk to the church lot (9140 California SW) with your recyclables and drop them off with 1 Green Planet. Here’s the newest list of what they will and won’t be accepting – free of charge (though donations are always welcome to help the church’s Green Committee continue presenting the twice-yearly Recycle Roundups).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two months after the June 26th Seattle Iron and Metals barge fire on the Duwamish River (WSB coverage here) filled the sky with black smoke seen for miles around, a followup meeting answered some questions but raised even more concerns.
The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition brought together some of the departments/agencies involved in fighting the fire and assessing its damage. “For us, this is a very important meeting – we had a lot of people who were really scared by the fire,” began DRCC director/coordinator James Rasmussen, later noting that what they had gathered for was to find out the truth. “The people who are here, who are your regulators, are trying to do the best they can for you.” We recorded Wednesday night’s meeting – here’s our unedited video in its entirety:
If you weren’t there and don’t have time to watch, here’s what was revealed, asked, and discussed:
As mentioned in our Saturday coverage of the Duwamish River Festival, we learned while there that a community meeting is planned this Wednesday for updates on the June 26th barge fire. The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition has organized the meeting for 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday (August 22nd) at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College (6737 Corson Ave. S.). From the flyer:
We have put together an opportunity to hear short presentations from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Fire Department, and Puget SoundKeeper, all of whom have some level of expertise with (Seattle Iron & Metal)/the barge fire/the barge fire response. The agenda will also include a dedicated portion of time for community members to ask questions and receive answers. Please join us to learn about the fire, the response, the repercussions, and next steps.
The fire caught the attention of people for many miles around as it spewed thick black smoke into the sky on an otherwise clear summer evening. No injuries were reported; the next day, SFD said the fire had been ruled “accidental” with damage estimated at $1 million. Wednesday’s meeting will be in the Gene Colin Educational Hall on the southwest side of the SSC Georgetown campus; here’s a map.
Still time to get to this year’s Duwamish River Festival (at Duwamish Waterway Park, 7900 10th Ave. S., until 5 pm), where you can learn about the river by getting out onto it, or talking to people about it.
That’s James Rasmussen, coordinator of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, from whom we found out there’s a community meeting Wednesday about June’s barge fire on the river. (More on that in a separate story.) Along with information, the festival is also a cultural celebration:
Dancers from the Somali Youth Community Center were onstage while we were there – we published the full entertainment lineup in today’s daily highlights list. They were followed by Vietnamese community performers, including a dancer who specializes in cha-cha:
And the many organizations and city departments there include Seattle Parks, with some hands-on education about river wildlife:
Go learn, play, and watch!
More than a week after a Coleman Oil tanker truck spilled thousands of gallons of gasoline at the West Marginal/Chelan/Spokane/Delridge intersection, a cleanup crew was still on scene when we went through the intersection Thursday afternoon. We’ve since obtained more followup information from Seattle Public Utilities:
The responsible party hired an environmental consultant and cleanup contractor. SPU monitors and advises on their activities. SPU’s goal is to ensure that pollution in the stormwater system doesn’t leave and is cleaned out.
The Oil and Water Separator (OWS) is still operating. There is also a large pneumatic plug in the stormwater pipe downstream from the spill. The plug blocks polluted flows from heading downstream and into the Duwamish. The contractor will also be pressure washing our pipes between the spill and the plug.
Most of the spilled fuel went into the oil water separator (OWS). The contractor has pumped out both the OWS and the pipes behind the plug. Collected materials have either been recycled or are being processed as hazardous waste. Early numbers indicate that we’ve recovered over 2000 gallons of gasoline, but we won’t know the final amount until the responsible party reports and Department of Ecology verifies.
Ecology and SPU have monitored related outfalls along the Duwamish and have seen sheen. Department of Ecology has taken samples to determine the environmental impacts.
We will bill the responsible party for our time and materials, and we will investigate the incident under Seattle Municipal Code 22.800.
We’ll continue checking back, with the Department of Ecology too.
No one was hurt when one of the truck’s tanks went sideways the night of Wednesday, August 1st, with an early police assessment noting it happened during a “sharp right turn.” The incident kept the intersection closed – with West Seattle “low bridge” access blocked – for almost 12 hours.
That image is from the traffic cam on West Marginal at Spokane/Chelan/Delridge; SDOT says it is now open again, more than 24 hours after a tipped tanker truck was removed and crews started removing spilled gasoline from the drainage system (as explained here). We’re following up with Seattle Public Utilities to see if there’s any new info, but wanted to let you know that the traffic backups should now ease. Meantime, the tanker’s owner, Coleman Oil, has posted a statement in the comment thread following our original coverage of the Wednesday night incident.
That image was taken a short time ago from the SDOT camera on the east side of the Spokane/Chelan/West Marginal/Delridge intersection, the area blocked off for almost 12 hours after a double-tanker truck went sideways and spilled gasoline. The cleanup continues, and that’s led to the lane closure shown on the camera – so you’re advised to keep avoiding the westbound routes through that intersection. Meantime, we have information from Seattle Public Utilities regarding pollution concerns and what the crew’s doing there; we contacted SPU spokesperson Andy Ryan to ask about it. He provided these details:
The truck leaked an estimated 2,800 to 3,200 gallons of gasoline into the City’s storm drain system, which empties into the Duwamish River. At this point, the fuel has not made it into the river—although we anticipate that some fuel is likely to enter the river.
The transportation company responsible for the spill is paying for contractors to remove the fuel from the storm drain system, and transfer it to storage tanks. Seattle Public Utilities is overseeing the cleanup.
Seattle Fire has sprayed Novacool fire retardant foam in the area to reduce the chance of fire. SFD got the foam as part of a $247,000 grant from Washington Ecology. Novacool is said to be of lower toxicity than other fire retardants, and it breaks down faster to decrease the risk of oxygen depletion in receiving water.
SPU is monitoring safety issues, ensuring there is not an explosive environment in the drainage system, and closing a lane of traffic to facilitate cleanup. Cleanup efforts are expected to take about 36 hours. The cleanup will be performed by vacuum trucks specially designed for the removal of gasoline.
… Because of the potential explosion/fire risk, this material [foam and gas] cannot be boomed and contained at the outfall. There is a large oil/water/separator (OWS) between most of the spill and the outfall that was built and installed specifically for this purpose. As of right now there are several inches of fuel in the OWS and the cleanup contractor (NRC) hired by the trucking company is working on keeping that material pumped down. We are cautiously optimistic that the OWS will prevent most of the material from entering the waterway. This area is tidal, and is beginning to go out so there will be more indication of the level of material bypassing the OWS as the afternoon goes on. At this time, we cannot estimate the volume of material that will be unrecoverable.
The worst-case scenario is fish kills in the area. Gasoline will typically dissipate relatively quickly when exposed to the atmosphere. This would be aided if sunny weather, but unfortunately it does not look like there is sunshine in the forecast. Department of Ecology is taking responsibility for monitoring from the outfall and has a boat from NRC on standby in the event spill material bypasses the OWS.
SPU Spill Response and Safety is onsite to monitor the clean-up activities of NRC and is developing a schedule for SPU to staff the site until the cleanup is complete. As of now, NRC has the appropriate resources onsite to effect clean-up. Early estimates indicate the cleanup process could take 24-36 hours. A debriefing and review of the incident after the clean-up is done will indicate if further action (enforcement) by SPU Source Control & Pollution Prevention is warranted.
As reported in our previous coverage, SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the cause of the crash, with early indications that the trailer went sideways as the truck made a sharp turn. No injuries were reported.