West Seattle, Washington
Got an e-mail from someone wondering what’s up with the empty lot at the northwest corner of 42nd and Alaska. I remembered something about the city acquiring that lot as parkland, so I checked around and indeed, a park is still in the works for that site, known as “Junction Plaza” — timely question since, according to this city news release, city leaders want your ideas on exactly what to do with it; they’ll be at the Summer Fest in two weeks with a booth featuring the latest scoop.
Almost two months ago, our first peek at the beloved little park in the middle of all that work was almost too much to bear. It left me with a dystopian image that festered in my mind long after that night. And even once we saw last month that Lincoln Park was back to near-normal, I was a little scared about what we’d see at Cove Park — such a fragile little spot to start with.
Surprise! The art path survived; the beach is drift-log-laden again; the only major noticeable change is the absence of a runoff ditch between the logs — always thought that was tied to Fauntleroy Creek, maybe not.
Next thing to be worried about: the long-heralded pump station “upgrade” at Lowman Beach, another spot we cherish. It’s still in the works, according to this King County doc. Looks like there was organized opposition last year and some reassurance … have to keep an eye on it now. If anyone even suggests disturbing those two beautiful huge trees at Lowman, I swear, I’ll pull this kind of stunt myself.
Surprise — the sun’s out. Forecast still insists it won’t be for long, but I have faith I can at least get out and pull weeds for a while. If you’d rather do something else environmentally friendly that also happens to get you out on the water, Cami from ever-trusty AlkiNews.com tells us Alki Kayak Tours over at Seacrest Boathouse is offering demos on Eddyline Kayaks till 3 pm today. (I personally think West Seattle needs a few more businesses with “Tours” in their name — why not show off our beauty? — so I don’t mind the occasional plug!)
About a month before Al Gore was elected Vice President in 1992, West Seattle Blogger Spouse and I shoehorned ourselves into an outdoor crowd at the UW to watch him speak. This was supposed to be some sort of appeal to Them Young Voters; what passed for local music royalty pre-grunge, the Wilson sisters, opened for him, as I recall.
I remember the sunshine and the energy. I don’t remember being terribly impressed by him. But Al Gore ’06 is a different guy. See for yourself in “An Inconvenient Truth,” aka “the Al Gore movie” or “the global-warming movie.” We just got back from shoehorning ourselves into an indoor crowd downtown to see it.
Cool thing is, it’s not what you’d expect. It’s not a huge scarefest full of “Day After Tomorrow” disaster-rama-style effects — it’s heartbreaking pictures, and impressive charts, and a whole different side of the ex-Vice President. Best thing, it ends with zillions of bits of advice on how you can do something about the problem. Chances are, here in our blue peninsula amid a blue city, you might be doing something good already. (Here at WSB World HQ, we’ve “planted trees. Lots of trees” and we “recycle” — abundantly — so now we just need to give City Light a call as per the credit-sequence exhortation and ask if they use “green energy.”)
Also advised, “tell everyone you know to see (the) movie.” So that’s what I’m doing here, with a link to Saturday showtimes, and a link to the tie-in site. If you’ve got an environmentalist bone in your body, it’s a lot more satisfying than, oh, say, “Over the Hedge.”
All the contractor’s backhoes, and all the contractor’s men, DID manage to put Lincoln Park back together again.
Just back from a tour to verify that for ourselves, since Colman Pool is about to open for the season and that means fairly frequent walks along the Lincoln Park paths. We were amazed to see just how close to “normal” the park looks, despite the major pipeline project — for most of the major (south half) part of the waterfront path, the only clues are asphalt patching and new pea gravel atop the filled-in area where the pipeline went.
Things are a bit more ragged beyond Colman Pool, to the north — the big grassy meadow by the pool buildings is nothing but dirt, and a few pieces of construction equipment are still around. Otherwise, nothing really disturbed the eye — except a huge infestation of ivy all along the north path — and I don’t think we can blame the pipeline project for that.
Even the wildlife is returning; toward the Beach Drive end of the path, we paused to watch a frolicking otter and jumping fish.
The south parking lot, by the way, has reopened too; looks like the north lot is close — some construction vehicles were still staged there when we passed by in early evening.
Interesting story in the P-I over the weekend.
My .02, I wouldn’t bet on Mr. Vedder getting involved in this particular issue. One of the recently paved-over greenbelt stretches on this side of WS is close to his digs, and that didn’t seem to stop the bulldozers. (If I were a rich person, I’d have pocketed those parcels for preservation’s sake; I’m not, so the best I can do is urban wildlife habitat in my own backyard. And front yard. And side yards …)
If you’re on the south side of WS, you can’t miss the flyers posted about this Saturday’s big cleanup. Hizzoner’s even coming, all the way from the north side of WS. Bummer the forecast doesn’t look so good right now — but as long as it’s not pouring, it’ll probably be a fine day for trash-picking, ivy-pulling, and what have you …
Maybe you heard the saga of the older lady who spent some time today sitting in a tree near Alki, trying to protect it from further hacking. I don’t know if this particular tree is such a cause worth fighting for, but I certainly sympathize with the escalating loss of our urban forest. Personally, if I had been Cindi Laws, I would have held a sit-in in that splendid garden she had, now a long-forgotten ghost on yet another spot claimed by condos.
(Wed. morning update: here’s a link to the tree lady’s story.)
The first impulse, if those record-high temperatures really do materialize late this afternoon, will be to flee for the beach. Alki will likely be a madhouse. So here are a few alternatives you might consider:
–Lowman Beach. Cozy, quiet, beautiful. Not much parking, though, so walk/bike/bus if you can.
-The beach just west of Seacrest Boathouse. Steep and rocky but the boathouse area in general, with the pier and its downtown vista, is a nice place to hang out, and there’s good bubble tea across the street.
Here’s the story in today’s P-I. I wouldn’t exactly call the pub move “a block” … details, details. As for possible names, Monorail Memorial Park really rings my bell. Perhaps some folks on the non-o-rail board can rustle around in the storeroom and find some decorations from items bought but unreturnable …
It is just plain vicious that today will be spectacular and Saturday, when many of us are released from our
cages offices to frolic at events such as Maritime Day, it’s supposed to be standard-issue soggy. If you can skip work today, go right ahead, and take an extra lap around Alki for me. I unfortunately was born with a weird gene that will cause me to drop dead on the spot if I ever call in sick when I don’t happen to be. So as Snow White’s mini-men once sang, hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go …
We didn’t realize till tonight that the Lincoln Park pipeline project has torn up Cove Park just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock. The little park has been a favorite stop of ours during spring and summer walks — a nice place to sit on one of the driftwood logs for ferry-watching and Olympics-admiring. Tonight, once the weather cleared, we went down to Cove Park for the first time in months — and were absolutely shocked — the driveway down to the park from Fauntleroy is stripped of its artsy inlaid glass border; the driftwood logs are mostly gone; the beach is a staging area for the pipe work, complete with humongous backhoe; and a joint on the above-ground temporary pipe is venting sewer gas right at the entrance to the beach (no wonder the first house north of the parklet is vacant and posted “for rent”). We understand this project was necessary but that doesn’t make the loss of the little park any less heartbreaking. With that and the loss of the southernmost Lincoln Park parking lot (also a staging area for equipment, gravel, etc.), we don’t think we’re going to be spending much time on this end of the WS waterfront until the work is done in a few months. We find it hard to believe this won’t affect Colman Pool access, at least for the first few weeks, but the city brochure doesn’t reflect any impacts …
They’re just about to bloom at the Fauntleroy Creek overlook (across the street and up the staircase from the ferry dock).
They’re not big splashy flowers like tulips or daffodils. They’re small and relatively rare. They’re on a spiny plant called Darwin’s barberry, and they are the color of a tequila sunrise. No photos do them justice but here’s one anyway. They usually bloom at the start of April — that’s whenÃ‚Â we saw them for the first time, on a bush at Shore Acres State Park in Oregon, more than 15 years ago — and discovering them on a hedge at the salmon overlook here was more joy than we could stand. Just wondrous.
… like a big bright postcard headlined
You see their vans everywhere — and they are based right here in West Seattle — the phone number starting with “93” gives that away — I’m in awe of the Botanical Designs folks. Seems like they take care of plants at every business in the city. I’ve seen their teams pulling up in front of nondescript office buildings, and parking outside plush hotels. Hard to find out much about them, though; even their Web site is mysteriously shallow. But two (green) thumbs up to them for helping make sure we don’t devolve into a plantless world.
Don’t breathe too deeply, suggests this story about a new pollution study. The report apparently drills down to specific census tracts; I’m out of time to look that deeply into it this morning, but I’d guess the WS areas closest to port traffic are the ones with the worst air.
This morning, though, I suspect it’s safe to inhale … we’ve got double-digit wind out there and it sounds rough enough to scrub out everything but the basic ingredients!
Call it the flip side of the phenomenon that occurs in spring and summer, when the sun temporarily blinds you as you’re driving eastbound to work in the morning on the WS Bridge.
The light that blinded me (figuratively speaking) tonight was … light in the western sky, as I drove home at dusk. LIGHT IN THE SKY, AT 6 PM! HALLELUJAH!
Speaking of driving, one more plug for my new friends at the Alki News Beacon — they’re running an online poll about whether signs on local freeways should point visitors to The Beach.
Sounds like a great idea to me. I didn’t even make it over to West Seattle the first time I came to the city as a tourist in the late ’80s; even though I had a rent-a-car and roamed quite widely around the area, this side of the bay was quite the well-kept secret.
I came back two years later, and found my way here after reading a blurb in a tourist guide. The rest was history … six months after that, WS Blogger Spouse and I were loaded in the car and headed this way, for good (in more ways than one).
Even now, though, West Seattle is way too “off-the-beaten-path.” I know we don’t want to be overrun with people, but still — a little tourism could be encouraged (scenic tours? see where Seattle’s first settlers landed?), without much skin off our backs. Just a little. Daytripping, they used to call it. Sunglasses & sunscreen, here we come!
Even if you don’t swim, pay the three bucks and change, and go hang out at West Seattle’s only city-run pool during one of the public swim periods. The air is tropical. If you choose to go in the water, you can also close your eyes and imagine yourself somewhere much, much warmer. Really, the admission fee probably falls short of what you’d pay to stay home for the same hour or two and keep the thermostat up. (I know I’m not the only one with an outrageous City Light or PSE bill these days.)
We are now more than halfway through those long, gloomy months between festival/parade seasons. Just five and a half months till the Junction Festival, for example. Hang in there!
Reportedly there’s a sewage leak in the Lincoln Park vicinity and authorities have “posted the beach (as) closed.” Well, whew. So much for that yearning to take a midwinter swim in salt water.