West Seattle, Washington
We’ve been reporting on the possibility that a curb-ramp project just north of Solstice Park could lead to the removal of a big old chestnut tree. It’s on private property, but close enough to the sidewalk that its roots have spread out over time. As noted here last week, the city promises to assess it and try to save it, but Sara, who lives on the property that’s home to the tree, wants witnesses, and is organizing a rally:
The city is breaking ground at the foot of our ancient Horse Chestnut Tree in the morning of Monday, April 25th. We want to create a presence for the arborist, onsite workers, and city officials in order to show the community’s outcry for the tree’s preservation of life.
We are gathering to advocate for the health of our environment! The removal of legacy trees such as this is severely reducing our city’s canopy tree cover, creating what are called “heat islands.” These heat islands are devastating to native plants and wildlife. Last summer, Seattle experienced a mass bird death in result of record-breaking temperature spikes due to climate change. One of the best actions we can take to help our habitat is preserve the lives of our ancient trees that provide shade, food, and refuge as our world grows hotter.
We are also here to express our support of the ramp! We want our friends on wheels to have ease of access to our lovely parks, and of course our lovely tree. We are here to emphasize that accessibility and sustainability are NOT mutually exclusive! Both accessibility and the preservation of wildlife and plant life are vital to our community’s health! Come join us!
Seating will be provided for those who cannot stand for long periods of time. [We have approximately 6 or 7 chairs.]
The gathering is planned to start at 10 am Monday on the lawn on the SW Fontanelle side of the Solstice Park tennis courts.
Electronics are just part of what they’re taking this time around at Fauntleroy Church‘s Recycle Roundup, continuing until 3 this afternoon. We stopped by in the first hour, and the crews from 1 Green Planet were already busy. Here’s one more reminder of the will/won’t-take list:
It’s a free dropoff service in partnership with 1 Green Planet, but if you can make a monetary donation, the church’s Green Committee will accept it to help cover expenses. Again, this continues at 9140 California SW [map] until 3 pm – lots of time, so unless you truly can’t get there until the last minute, they ask that you go sooner rather than later.
One last reminder – tomorrow’s the day to bring recyclables to Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW) for its next Recycle Roundup, a free dropoff event. 1 Green Planet is scheduled to be there 9 am-3 pm Sunday, so no need to get there early, but organizers ask that you not wait until the last minute, either. Here’s the list of what they’re accepting (and NOT accepting) this time.
Today is Earth Day, but observances continue into the weekend, mostly community cleanups. Above is art spotlighting the ongoing need for them – Highland Park artist Dina Johnson created her collage “Plastic Ocean” and installed it on her fenceto raise awareness about plastic pollution. She explains, “The elements were found near my home and White Center, and a few on the beach or Westcrest Park. They are common, non-degradable objects that are discarded with no thought, doing appalling damage to the environment and to wildlife. Yes, the foamcore board and waterproof paint are pollutants as well.”
Want to minimize the harm carelessly discarded items are doing? Your opportunities tomorrow include:
HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: The HPE PTA invites you: “Join us anytime from 9-noon Saturday for liter pick up, mulch spreading, planting, sweeping, and grounds improvements at Highland Park Elementary School. We will meet on the blacktop.” Free coffee, doughnuts, and pizza. The school is at 1012 SW Trenton.
ALSO IN HIGHLAND PARK: 10 am-noon Saturday, starting at award-winning Highland Park Corner Store (where you can pick up bags, grabbers, and gloves, 7789 Highland Park Way SW), community cleanup with Highland Park Improvement Club and HPAC.
ALKI BEACH: Join a student who’s organized a 10 am cleanup at the beach Saturday – info’s in our calendar listing.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE FAIR: 10 am-2 pm in the Greenbridge Library lot (9720 8th SW), see EVs or even show yours off – more info in our calendar listing.
Towering over those road-closed barricades at Fauntleroy Way and SW Fontanelle is the old chestnut tree we told you about a week ago. The tree is on private property, close to the corner where a curb ramp will be built, and the residents of the house on that property are worried that the construction will lead to the death/removal of the tree. They’ve been asking for an update from the city, and received this from SDOT‘s Ching Chan via an email thread on which we were cc’d:
… we will not move forward with construction work at the northeast corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Fontanelle St until our Arborist has had a chance to inspect the tree root system.
The project team just confirmed that our Urban Forestry Arborist and our contractor will be onsite next Monday morning, 4/25 to remove the sidewalk to inspect the tree roots. Our Arborist will supervise the air spading work (break up and remove compacted soil around tree roots using compressed air) to ensure it is conducted properly and that the tree will not be harmed in the process. Our Arborist will conduct an inspection once the root system is exposed. The assessment will then be shared with our ADA Program Engineers to help them determine whether there are feasible alternative curb ramp designs at this corner that can minimize damage to the tree’s root system. This process may take up to several weeks.
We will notify property owner … and tenants at this property once we’ve come to a decision. We will notify adjacent households once construction is scheduled so they are aware and informed of our work scope and schedule.
The tree trunk is currently adorned with signs of support, and the residents are still gathering online petition signatures in support of preserving it.
One month after we first reported on Seattle City Light‘s plan to turn a former substation site into a lot for charging electric vehicles, you have a chance to find out more. The proposal for 4118 SW Morgan is on the agenda for Wednesday night’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association – two days before the city closes a survey on the proposal. For the rest of the 7 pm online meeting’s agenda, plus attendance info, see the listing on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.
As the new week starts, we’re reminding you again that the next dropoff Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church is less than a week away – Sunday, April 24th. Here’s the list of what will be accepted (note that it changes from event to event, so what you see in our photo above may not match with what’s acceptable this time):
Right now from Seattle to Tukwila and beyond, hundreds of people are working on and near the Duwamish River and its watershed as part of the return of the one-day mega-work party Duwamish Alive! Above and below are photos from the kickoff ceremony at həʔapus Village Park & Shoreline Habitat in West Seattle; before getting going on their projects, volunteers heard from speakers including Mayor Bruce Harrell:
The sites and organizations who are participating today, according to the Duwamish Alive! Coalition:
Pigeon Point, West Seattle with Delridge Neighborhood Development Association
Heron’s Nest, West Seattle with Shared Spaces Foundation
həʔapus Village Park & Shoreline Habitat, West Seattle with Duwamish River Community Coalition, DIRT Corps, Port of Seattle
North Wind’s Weir, Tukwila with King County Dept Natural Lands & Water
Riverview Park, Kent with Green River Coalition and Kent Parks
Fenster Nature Park, Auburn with Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group
Duwamish Hill Preserve, Tukwila with Tukwila Parks, Forterra & Friends of the Hill
Duwamish River Kayak Cleanup, West Seattle with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
Delridge Wetlands, West Seattle with DNDA
Duwamish Longhouse, West Seattle with the Duwamish Tribe
Herring’s House Park, West Seattle with Seattle Parks
Cecil Moses Park, Tukwila with King County Parks
If you’re volunteering at one of today’s sites, send a pic so we can add!
The latest Andover RV-encampment “remediation” cleanup is over, so we asked Seattle Public Utilities about the results. Spokesperson Sabrina Register says crews working there, primarily this past Tuesday, “collected and disposed of 15,000-thousand pounds of trash and debris.”
We asked about plans for six other RV encampments around West Seattle. None are “currently scheduled for remediation,” Register replied, adding that “Sites considered for remediation include locations where five or more RVs are present, and public health and safety-related factors are assessed.” So here’s what has happened/will happen at the six sites about which we inquired:
We have performed intense, one-day cleans (called geographic or geocleans) at the following locations:
Barton (east and west) of 16th SW (1/3)
SW Brandon west of 26th SW (2/14, 4/4)
SW Juneau near 26th SW (3/3, 4/4)
West Marginal Place (1/10, 3/16)
The following two locations are scheduled for geocleans in the near future:
1st Avenue South in the SW Detroit vicinity
2nd Avenue SW south of Highland Park Way
The amount of trash and debris that SPU reported removing in this Andover cleanup is double the total from four months ago.
Got some time to volunteer? Opportunities abound at West Seattle volunteer-led cleanups.
FRIDAY BEACH CLEANUP: Friday, all are welcome at this 10 am-noon beach cleanup (mentioned here previously) organized by wildlife advocates:
Volunteers needed! SR3 (Seattle Response + Rehab + Research) and Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network are hosting a cleanup of Alki Beach at 10:00 am on Friday, April 15, in honor of Earth Day and to celebrate the first anniversary of the SR3 Marine Wildlife Hospital, the SeaLife Rescue Center. Show your love for all of the creatures that depend upon our beaches & learn about the important work being done by SR3 & Seal Sitters.
Please dress for Seattle spring weather and bring appropriate footwear (waterproof is recommended.). In consideration of the environmental impact of single-use bottles, water will not be provided, so please bring whatever water and refreshments you’ll need. GoodDay Donuts will be provided!
Equipment (gloves, hand sanitizer, bags, buckets, grabbers) will be available, but please bring your own if you have them! No need to register- just show up! Meet at Statue of Liberty Plaza, Alki Ave SW at 61st Ave SW. All ages welcome!
We also have two announcements from Erik Bell, who leads cleanups every weekend, and is supporting these two over the next two days:
FRIDAY HIGH POINT CLEANUP: Noon-2 pm Friday, Erik and other volunteers are “helping support the High Point Community Cleanup being organized by Seattle Housing Authority. This is a family-friendly, leisurely clean.” Meet in the parking lot behind Neighborhood House High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.
SATURDAY PARK CLEANUP: Rotary Viewpoint Park (35th/Alaska), 11 am-1 pm. Erik and other volunteers are helping support “\an active encampment cleanup that has been organized by We Heart Seattle (adults only)” with “buy-in from the people living in the camp to come help in the cleanup. That said, the area will be a grittier style clean with areas needing cleaning up around the tents (we’ll receive instruction as to what needs cleaning there) as well as over the hillside, which will be a tougher area to access.” They’re also welcoming people to clean up along the sidewalk on 35th, Erik says.
For both of the above cleanups, he adds that “Vests, gloves, buckets and pickup sticks will be provided.” If you need to contact him, 206-852-9552.
EARTH DAY WEEKEND: Plan ahead for multiple West Seattle cleanup-volunteering opportunities! Here are links to the listings in our event calendar:
–Highland Park Elementary cleanup, 9 am-noon April 23
–Student-led Alki Beach cleanup, 10 am-noon April 23
–Highland Park community cleanup, 10 am-noon April 23
And looking even further into the future:
–Highland Park Way cleanup, 9 am-11 am April 30
Even as the city moves slowly toward a policy aimed at protecting trees, more are taken out daily, mostly for development. A short distance north of Lincoln Park, one big old tree is endangered for a different reason: A city transportation project.
Crews are working right now on the west side of Fauntleroy/Fontanelle [map] to build curb ramps. When they get to the east side of the intersection, Sara says, the huge chestnut tree at that corner of her yard is in danger.
She’s launched an online petition drive to try to save the tree, which they believe is more than a century old. The petition page tells the tree’s story in detail, including Sara’s personal plea:
We cherish this tree and its history. We love observing the animals it provides for, and are honored to behold its abundant glory and all the creatures that enjoy it. I gather snips of the flowers to make arrangements for meditiation. My housemate and her daughter collect the chestnuts annually and use them for arts and crafts! We were set to create a ladder this year so that we could climb it and build a treehouse! We long to protect it. Trees like this are sacred and SHOULD NOT BE DESTROYED!
Similarly, our neighbors over at the Kenney take walks and come to our tree specifically to gather chestnuts for their own decor, and to enjoy its sentimental value, as many of them have grown up visiting this tree in their childhood. We have many West Seattle residents pass by this tree to enjoy its splendor. This is a generational staple of our neighborhood.
After hearing from Sara, we asked SDOT about the tree. Here’s the response we received from spokesperson Ethan Bergerson:
SDOT has not made any decisions to remove this tree. At this point, we are only planning to temporarily remove some of the adjacent concrete sidewalk panels which were already lifted up by the tree roots, so that our arborists can get a closer look at the root structure. Our immediate objective is to better understand our options, and whether it is possible to trim the tree roots in a way that maintains the health of the tree so that the sidewalk can be repaired and the curb ramp installed.
As you noted, this tree is on private property. We have been having an ongoing conversation with the property owner, who has been aware of this situation since last September and understands that they share responsibility with SDOT for repairing the sidewalk damage. Their tenant learned of the situation more recently and initially believed that we had made a decision to remove the tree. We have since spoken with both the owner and tenant to make it clear that this is not the case and we will continue to share information about the tree and curb ramp design and construction as they become available.
Sara’s not taking any chances. Her online petition is collecting signatures, and her housemate’s 9-year-old daughter has written a letter with her own plea:
The petition page even includes a design proposal for building the curb and saving the tree. Sara writes, “I want to be very clear: we absolutely want our sidewalk and streets to be accessible for everyone! There are ways to do this that do not involve killing our tree.”
The city “remediation” cleanup at the SW Andover RV encampment – noted here last Friday – is under way. No RVs appear to have moved, but city-contractor junk-hauling trucks were there when we went through around 9 am, along with SDOT and SPD vehicles. The “no parking” signs that went up last week indicated the work would start Sunday, and we did see one of the junk haulers at the 28th/Andover corner again that day:
As we reported last week, the “No Parking” signs are basically a request, not an order, and SDOT told us they would not be towing vehicles unless they clearly had been abandoned. This is the first “remediation” since last December, when the city reported removing almost four tons of “garbage and debris.”
The state Department of Ecology has sent advance word of a drill you might notice if you’re looking toward Harbor Island or the downtown waterfront tomorrow (Tuesday, April 12th). Starting at 9 am, the alert says, “Kinder Morgan and NRC will be deploying equipment to exercise their oil spill contingency plans, and test the geographic response plan for that area. Activities will start at the Kinder Morgan facility on Harbor Island [map], and then move to the waterfront near the Seattle Aquarium. Crews will operate oil spill skimmers near Harbor Island and deploy boom near the Seattle waterfront.”
Just a reminder that April 24th is the date for Fauntleroy Church‘s next Recycle Roundup, a free dropoff event, 9 am-3 pm in the church’s parking lot at 9140 California SW. Here’s the list of what will be accepted:
Also returning this year: The large-scale volunteer-work day all along the Duwamish River and its watershed, to help restore the health of Seattle’s only river. The spring 2022 Duwamish Alive! event is planned for Saturday, April 16th. Even before announcing it to the community at large, some groups have filled up the volunteer openings at various sites, but some openings remain: “Group B” for kayak cleanup (kayaks provided!) and habitat restoration – find the signup info here – and The Heron’s Nest, which is also open to groups and offering children’s activities – email email@example.com to sign up for that site.
That’s just part of what community volunteers picked up along West Marginal last weekend. Organizer Erik Bell sends word that four community cleanups are planned around West Seattle this weekend – including a return to West Marginal – and you’re invited to pitch in:
7-8 am Alki Cleanup (Statue of Liberty start)
10 am-12 pm Alki First Saturday Clean (2452 Alki Ave SW start)
10 am-12 pm Pop-Up Clean / SW Holden (24th & Holden start, family-friendly)
10 am-12 pm Marginal Way / Missing Link (Həʔapus Park start)
Equipment (and bags) provided, but if you have your own pickup stick/bucket, bring it!
Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network and SR3 are planning a major beach cleanup for Friday, April 15th – open to everyone, since it’s spring-break week for many students. Here’s the announcement:
Volunteers needed! SR3 (Seattle Response + Rehab + Research) and Seal Sitters are hosting a cleanup of Alki Beach at 10:00 am on Friday, April 15, in honor of Earth Day and to celebrate the first anniversary of the SR3 Marine Wildlife Hospital, the SeaLife Rescue Center. Show your love for all of the creatures that depend upon our beaches & learn about the important work being done by SR3 & Seal Sitters.
Please dress for Seattle spring weather and bring appropriate footwear (waterproof is recommended.) In consideration of the environmental impact of single-use bottles, water will not be provided, so please bring whatever water and refreshments you’ll need.
Equipment (gloves, hand sanitizer, bags, buckets, grabbers) will be available, but please bring your own if you have them! Please RSVP here. Meet at Statue of Liberty Plaza, Alki Ave SW at 61st Ave SW.
All ages welcome!
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
Did aquatic insects living in lower Fauntleroy Creek benefit from the 244 spawner carcasses that have been decaying since November? You bet, according to student researchers from Louisa Boren STEM K-8.
A dozen fourth graders, led by volunteer educator Shannon Ninburg, conducted the Fauntleroy Watershed Council‘s annual early-spring count of stonefly exoskeletons on Sunday, March 27, and found the third-highest number in the study’s 22-year history.
Stoneflies live in freshwater up to three years, then crawl out to shed their exoskeletons, fly, and mate to start the cycle of life over again. Stonefly nymphs are a significant food source for juvenile salmon, plus they are an indicator of water quality as they cannot tolerate high pollution.
(Sunday video by Tom Trulin)
Teams of students counted all the exoskeletons they could find in the study area, looking on trees, bushes, fences, and bridges near the water. One team focused on measuring torsos.
They found 62 exoskeletons – the most in three years. Average size of 10 specimens was 4 cm; one measuring 6 cm was among the largest ever recorded over the years.
After reviewing their data, the students reached conclusions about why the number of exoskeletons was so high this year and why most stoneflies exited the creek where they did. After students approve the final report, the watershed council will share it with regional salmon-habitat specialists and post it at fauntleroywatershed.org.
Can you follow in their footsteps? Those cleanup volunteers tackled a stretch of West Marginal Way SW last weekend – and tomorrow, volunteers are invited to a followup cleanup, 10 am-noon Sunday (March 27th). Organizer Erik Bell sent the invitation:
This is the finishing touch to last week’s extraordinary cleanup along W. Marginal Way SW. Although highly successful, we didn’t quite make it to the S-curve between the south end of Həʔapus Village Park and CalPortland cement plant. This stretch still has quite a bit of debris to get through but I believe we can knock it out tomorrow.
Our work will make the Duwamish Trail safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, prevent litter from further polluting adjacent waterways, and make this stretch of road more aesthetically pleasing.
This is a grittier-style roadway clean (adults only.) Vests, gloves, buckets and pickup sticks will be provided. Dress in layers for the weather; the environment includes blackberry bushes and lots of debris from car wrecks and dumped materials. This week’s weather may make some areas very muddy so wear footwear and clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
Parking: We’ll meet in the parking lot for Həʔapus Village Park (4500 Duwamish Trail). From there we’ll head south along West Marginal and clean towards CalPortland cement plant, just under 1 mile. We’ll work in groups and will be practicing safety first and foremost — especially those cleaning on the west side of West Marginal, which has no sidewalk or shoulder in most places. The east side has a bike path / sidewalk for more buffer from the road. Come for as little or as much as you’d like…bring a friend.
Please reach out with any questions, concerns or carpooling opportunities. I can be reached at 206-852-9552 or on Messenger.
7:51 PM MONDAY: A year and a half after installing a public electric-vehicle charging station in The Junction, Seattle City Light is proposing another one in West Seattle – this time, at a former substation site in Morgan Junction.
That’s an outline of the proposal, from the city webpage set up for the project. The site is at 4118 SW Morgan, kittycorner from the east side of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). As shown, it could hold up to eight charging stations, which SCL says would be accessed from the north side of the site, off Fauntleroy Way SW. The description adds:
Anyone with an electric vehicle will be able to use the charging station. Drivers will need to pay a fee to charge. The fee is designed to pay for the electricity and the cost of building the station.
Construction could begin as soon as the 4th quarter of 2022. The project will take approximately three months to complete.
This is considered a good location for an EV charging station because it is close to neighborhood retail, services, and major arterial roads. There are currently no public EV fast chargers in the Morgan Junction neighborhood.
The substation was decommissioned 20 years ago and the city says the site is planned for cleanup first, with its existing trees to be removed and replaced. For the next month – until April 22nd – the city is running a survey to see what the community thinks about the plan – you can answer it here.
3:57 PM TUESDAY: We asked SCL spokesperson Jenn Strang about the project’s cost. She responded that “at this juncture it would be premature for us to assign a number to costs. There are many variables yet to be determined before we could form a concrete estimate.”
As always, recycling/shredding is popular – this year’s first West Seattle event has a big turnout. We just went over to the north lot at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) for a look.
Organizers didn’t have a master count yet but our informal look at tally sheets suggested at least 200 cars in the first hour; commenters on our morning-preview post mentioned a long line in the early going, and cars stretched back to the south entrance when we arrived in the area around 10 am. Once you get onto the campus, the line splits into two.
Some people parked on 16th SW north of the campus and walked their items in. This continues until noon, provided the trucks don’t all fill up!
Here’s what they’re accepting, while there’s capacity. The event is a collaboration between the West Seattle Junction Association, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and Seattle Public Utilities. If you miss this, Fauntleroy Church‘s first 2022 Recycle Roundup, also a dropoff event, is scheduled for 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 24th.
Before we get to today’s highlights, last reminder about a big event tomorrow (Saturday, March 19th) – the year’s first West Seattle recycle/reuse event, including free shredding (4-box limit), 9 am-noon in the north lot at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor). Our previous reminder includes the list of what they’ll be accepting until the trucks fill up. This is a drive-up/ride-up/walk-up event. The event is co-presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the West Seattle Junction Association
That’s where crews worked to repair a 27-inch-wide sewer pipe over the past few days, one week after it leaked, sending liquid bubbling up over the street and sidewalk on Beach Drive north of Lowman Beach. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which is responsible for this pipe, said sand and grit simply wore a hole in the concrete pipe, which KCWTD says is more than 70 years old. We asked about the volume of the leak, which bubbled up for hours. KCWTD spokesperson Marie Fiore tells WSB that via “modeling,” they estimate the total amount of the leak was 40,500, with about 33,500 of that discharged on the surface: “A portion was absorbed into the ground and most went into the storm drains.” Last week, after the leak was reported, KCWTD crews rerouted the flow from the leaky pipe into a parallel pipe, and cleaned the area; they returned starting this past Friday for repairs.