West Seattle, Washington
Did you go to Fauntleroy Creek on Sunday to help give a sendoff to hundreds of volunteer-raised salmon fry left over from this year’s Salmon in the Schools fish-raising? If so, you were part of a big turnout over the short two-hour window, despite a forecast that threatened rain and delivered a shower. Creek steward Judy Pickens tells WSB that “79 people of all ages (toddler to 95) put fish in the water” over those two hours. Next up for Fauntleroy Creek – in a little over four months, volunteers will start watching for spawners to show up.
Another returning tradition – a dine-out day/night at Endolyne Joe’s (9261 45th SW) to cook up some cash for the Fauntleroy Fall Festival! This Tuesday (June 7th) is the date; Endolyne Joe’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (here’s the menu), 8 am-9 pm, and all you have to do is show up and dine. If you’re there in the evening, FFF-benefiting raffle tickets will be sold starting at 5 pm, with the drawing after 7:30 pm (you don’t have to be present to win). The festival is entirely community-powered – both in volunteers and in funding – so this is one way to help ensure it goes on to bring good times to one and all.
Most of the Washington State Ferries news here lately has been related to ongoing planning for the Fauntleroy terminal/dock rebuild. But the ferry system is still in a reduced mode of operation on some routes, including Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, and has announced online community meetings to provide updates on where things stand. The meetings are set for 1 pm Tuesday, June 14th, and 6 pm Wednesday, June 15th. From the announcement, here’s the plan:
WSF staff will give a brief presentation on upcoming summer service, hiring challenges and the agency’s process to restore service to pre-pandemic levels. Participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments during the meeting. Both meetings will cover the same material and are designed to give participants the option to join the meeting that best fits their schedule.
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
Salmon-release season for schools on Fauntleroy Creek ended Thursday when children from A Child Becomes Preschool put their coho fry in the water.
All but one of the 15 school releases coordinated by the Fauntleroy Watershed Council resembled field trips before the pandemic. Sizable groups of (masked) students and adults explored the park’s natural habitat while releasing their fish. Some groups also visited the lower creek.
All told, 460 children released 1,460 fry reared through the Salmon in the Schools program. Many of the 167 adults who chaperoned also put fish in the water. Members of the all-volunteer release team were Dennis Hinton, Pete Draughon, Shannon Ninburg, and Tom Trulin.
Most schools did very well this year rearing their salmon from eyed eggs; as a result, about 200 of the “just in case” fish reared by volunteer Jack Lawless can now be used for a community release. All are invited to drop by the big bridge in Fauntleroy Park (map) on Sunday, June 5, 1-3:00 pm to put them in the water.
Also in late May, volunteers wrapped up the annual count of smolts leaving the park and lower creek for their two years in saltwater. The count was considerably lower than last year (11 compared with 49), likely because the pandemic reduced the number of schools that brought fry in 2021. Monitors also counted upward of 400 live fry in the lower smolt trap, most being “home hatch” from last fall’s robust spawning.
The next season of volunteer monitoring will start in mid-October, when salmon watchers will document spawners and spawning activity in the lower creek.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Fauntleroy ferry-dock/terminal-replacement project is “where the Viaduct was in 2005,” suggested Washington State Ferries‘ David Sowers at last night’s online community meeting – lots of alternatives, early stages of planning.
He should know, having led the Viaduct-replacing tunnel project in its late stages.
Sowers now oversees terminal projects (among other things) for WSF, and he did much of the talking at the meeting. Attendance wasn’t shown or announced but when doing an early attendee poll, facilitator Lauren Foster showed a result with a 6%, which she described as “one of you,” so that would suggest fewer than 20 in attendance at the start. This was the second of two meetings meant to recap where the project is now – still a relatively early stage of planning. No new information was presented, but 45 minutes were spent on Q&A, which might be of interest even to those who’ve been following the project closely. First:
The next phase in planning for West Seattle’s next major transportation project, replacement of Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy dock/terminal, has just begun: WSF launched its “online open house” for the project today. Go here and you can catch up on WSF’s reasons for the project, the timeline, and early-stage possibilities, among other things, plus you’ll see how to comment. You can also register to attend one of the online community meetings coming up next Tuesday and Wednesday. Most recently, as we reported last week, WSF ruled out the idea of relocating the dock, but the rest of the details are yet to be settled on.
Two major developments in the ongoing plan to replace the Fauntleroy ferry terminal/dock:
ALTERNATE LOCATIONS DISCARDED: Above is the WSF recording of last Wednesday’s Community Advisory Group meeting for the project. One major development – the possible alternative locations proposed in the early going are not going to advance to the next level of review. So what they’re looking at is what could be built in the same location – a same-size dock, a larger dock, etc. Still under consideration are possible offsite holding areas, coupled with a new dock in the same location. Here’s the slide deck with highlights including the list of which alternatives are advancing and which are not.
COMMUNITY MEETINGS: WSF has just formally announced the next round of community meetings, plus an upcoming “online open house,” as your chance to find out where the planning is at and share your thoughts. The online open house is set for May 18th through June 13th – no link yet; the community meetings will be held online, noon-1:30 pm May 24th and 6-7:30 pm May 25th. WSF says both meetings will cover the same information; register to attend by going here for May 24th, here for May 25th.
The Hall at Fauntleroy, in the historic schoolhouse, is open for events again, and that meant the Fauntleroy Community Association could host its first in-person annual meeting since pre-pandemic. Last night’s gathering included the election of board members:
From left above are board members Bruce Butterfield, Mike Dey, David Haggerty, Marty Westerman, Susan Lantz-Dey, Catherine Bailey, Alexis Zolner, and Frank Immel. (Board members who couldn’t be there are Sydney Hammerquist, Nils von Veh, Bill Wellington, Kris Ilgenfritz, and Alan Grainger.) The event also is known as the Food Fest, because local businesses provide bites for meeting-goers – among them, Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor) in nearby Westwood:
There from Daystar were Corrine Camerota and Jason Kitchel, with a salmon-pate bite. Jack Miller from Husky Deli was there too, with sandwich samples:
Community organizations tabled, too, among them, the Emergency Communication Hubs, represented by Cindi Barker and Michael Brunner:
Whichever part of the peninsula you’re on, find your nearest hub – a place to go in case of catastrophe – on this map. And set your calendar for one more Fauntleroy event, a June 7th dine-out fundraiser at Endolyne Joe’s to support the Fauntleroy Fall Festival (which is looking for more volunteers, too, as reported here). You are also welcome at the FCA’s board meetings, held second Tuesdays at 7 pm – watch fauntleroy.net for updates.
P.S. Also coming up – a May 24th FCA-organized meeting about the Fauntleroy ferry dock-replacement project; details to come.
Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteer Dennis Hinton talked with the students about this phase of the salmon’s lives, and then they took turns releasing the fry into the creek:
Over a span of a little more than three weeks, a dozen schools and a Brownie troop are releasing fry into the creek. They’ve been tending to the salmon since volunteers Judy Pickens and Phil Sweetland led distribution of eggs back in December. The fry are released into upper Fauntleroy Creek, as the lower-creek habitat is reserved for the results of last fall’s big spawning season (244 spawners).
Speaking of Fauntleroy …we have the total tonnage from the recent Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church, courtesy of Judy Pickens:
West Seattle is 15.35 tons lighter today than before the spring Recycle Roundup on April 24 at Fauntleroy Church. Over the course of the day, the crew from 1 Green Planet unloaded all manner of recyclables from 470 vehicles.
The congregation has been hosting these events since 2010 as part of its commitment to stewarding the environment. Since then, the roundup has returned more than 300 tons of metal, e-waste, and other products to the resource stream. Watch for the fall roundup in late September.
This time’s total was not far from the record 16.54 tons brought via 540 vehicles three years ago.
If you have non-curbside recyclables that can’t wait until fall, you can use the Where Does It Go? lookup tool to find out how to deal with them. (And if you have paper to shred – bring it to the annual event sponsored by John L. Scott Real Estate Westwood [WSB sponsor] next Saturday!)
Live, work, study in Fauntleroy? Here’s your invitation to a big event tomorrow night:
The Fauntleroy Community Association‘s Annual Meeting and Food Fest is back! Tuesday evening, May 3, from 6 to 8 PM in the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse “Emerald Room,” the FCA will once again host its annual meeting. Visit with friends, neighbors, and talk with City and local non-profit organizations involved with our community. Two hours of conversations and food from local eateries. A wonderful opportunity to get out and connect. A short business meeting will take place about 7 PM.
That includes the annual election of board members. The venue is on the south side of the historic schoolhouse, 9131 California SW.
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.
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.
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):
Volunteers placed the eggs after filling them with non-candy surprises. That was just one topic at the FCA board’s April meeting, held in-person and online this past Tuesday night. Major topic continued to be the Fauntleroy ferry dock/terminal replacement project, now in the planning stage. The FCA is organizing a community meeting for May 24th at The Hall at Fauntleroy (time TBA) to give people from all over West Seattle a primer on the dock and the project, which will be the biggest transportation project in West Seattle post-bridge and pre-light rail. They’ll include Q&A, with Washington State Ferries reps invited to participate in that. They’re hoping to have elected officials present too.
In the meantime, as the dock project goes forward, they’re hoping to get WSF to survey drivers about their final destinations, as they don’t believe WSF has enough current data on that, though it’s critical information for planning.
Current dock-related issues of concern include traffic control; the FCA is still working on bringing together all the involved agencies – SDOT, WSF, WSP, SPD – to talk about traffic and line-cutting. They’re also working on getting collision data both for that meeting and for the upcoming community-wide dock discussion.
Before that meeting happens, the FCA’s annual general meeting will be May 3rd, 6-8 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, which will include a chance to mingle as well as the annual board election.
Watch fauntleroy.net for updates between meetings, which happen on second Tuesdays most months.
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:
5:34 PM: Thanks for the tip! Another pole problem on this blustery afternoon – this one is down across the north end of 44th SW where it intersects with Brace Point Drive and SW Wildwood on the east side of the Fauntleroy business district. Not a major blocking problem – just part of 44th at the bottom of the hill. Police had just arrived when we got there.
12:30 AM: Not fixed as of late Monday night – John Skerratt sent this photo of a worker at the scene:
10:33 AM: The week is not off to a good start for Washington State Ferries. The Fauntleroy dock is out of service for repairs. The downtown dock is also down to one slip because a boat from the Bainbridge run made a hard landing, and both the boat – M/V Kaleetan – and dock are being assessed. WSF says Fauntleroy service “will be suspended while maintenance staff assess and repair the issue. The repairs are currently estimated to be completed by mid-afternoon. This means service on the Fauntleroy/Vashon and Fauntleroy/Southworth routes is cancelled until further notice. Service between Southworth and Vashon will continue to run, and the #1 vessel will sail as scheduled, while the #2 vessel will operate unscheduled trips as needed.” We are told at least part of the Fauntleroy problem is related to a worn-out cable. Updates as we get them.
10:44 AM: WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling confirms, “There’s some sort of issue with a cable that is currently being inspected. It’s my understanding the cable is used to help lower and raise the ramp to and from the ferry.”
1:04 PM: WSF says the repairs are complete and the Fauntleroy terminal is back in service with the 1:15 boat to Vashon.
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.
That’s one of five sets of speed humps now in place on 45th SW in Fauntleroy, between Wildwood and Trenton – thanks for the tip that they’d been installed. Though SDOT has installed dozens of new speed humps in recent months in West Seattle, these took a longer-than-usual road to get to installation on this popular cut-through route that runs parallel to Fauntleroy Way near the ferry dock. Seattle Fire had voiced concerns about whether they’d be an obstacle on an emergency route, but then in February, SDOT said SFD had signed off on them. (At the time, though, SDOT said there would be three sets, and today we counted five.) Speeding on 45th was one of many concerns discussed at a special Fauntleroy Community Association forum about traffic issues last October.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Are members of the Community Advisory Group for the Fauntleroy ferry dock/terminal replacement plan being rushed along to get buy-in on potential locations without enough information for a true comparison?
That’s what some suggested at last night’s meeting, a followup to the one two weeks ago (WSB coverage here) at which Washington State Ferries presented nine “draft alternatives,” including Lowman Beach and Lincoln Park.
Some CAG members also suggested the process is putting too much emphasis on dock location/size when some of the biggest issues, like traffic, could and should be addressed operationally, and long before the replacement is built (currently expected in 2025-2027).
Here’s how the meeting unfolded:
Among the community groups that had monthly meetings this past week was the Fauntleroy Community Association. Here are the toplines:
FERRY ISSUES: While paying close attention to the ongoing planning for the Fauntleroy ferry terminal/dock replacement, FCA is also watchdogging current operational issues. Line-cutting is a major concern. Signage has been added, but FCA doesn’t feel that’s enough. They’re hoping to organize a meeting with WSF, SPD, WSP, and SDOT to discuss what more can be done. Regarding the dock project, FCA’s point person Frank Immel – who’s on the project’s Community Advisory Group – presented updates. The dock rebuild (as reported in our coverage of the most-recent meeting) might expand the its vehicle capacity. FCA is skeptical that would do much for alleviating traffic on Fauntleroy Way. He stressed that at this stage, all possibilities are on the table. The prevailing FCA sentiment so far leans toward support of rebuilding the dock in its current location with the same foot print. Meantime, FCA president Mike Dey is meeting with local elected officials including State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. FCA’s Bruce Butterfield is facilitating next month’s District 1 Community Network meeting and hopes to have the ferry project on the agenda. Meantime, the CAG meets again this Wednesday.
POLICE UPDATES: Fauntleroy’s crime rate is among the lowest in the city, Southwest Precinct Lt. Dave Terry told the FCA board. He was asked how the “emphasis patrols” at nearby Westwood Village are going. They’ve been working as a deterrent when the officers are there, he said. He also warned that those extra patrols will shift to Alki Beach when warmer weather launches the busy season there. Asked for a status report on the staffing challenges, he talked about the time it takes to train new officers, and said that while new hires are in the pipeline, there’s no guarantee any will be assigned to the precinct here.
ANNUAL MEETING: FCA has set May 3rd as the date for the return of the in-person annual membership meeting, known as the Food Fest because it usually includes samples from neighborhood restaurants, More details soon.
EGG HUNT: FCA also continues planning the community Egg Hunt for the week of April 11th.
The Fauntleroy Community Association board meets second Tuesdays, 7 am – watch for announcements at fauntleroy.net.