West Seattle, Washington
If you are a fan of farm-fresh produce but can’t get to the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, you have options, and one of them will continue for another month into the fall: Vashon Fresh (WSB sponsor), with twice-weekly pickups in West Seattle. This is what Vashon Island growers/makers are doing this pandemic year instead of having their regular farmers’ market on the island. You can order online for one or both of two weekly pickup times, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in the Fauntleroy UCC parking lot (9140 California SW), where you can drive/ride/walk right up to the booth. Vashon Fresh tells us they plan to continue the schedule through Saturday, October 31st. The available items, which you can preview here, change from week to week, but right now, for example, along with vegetables, fruit, and herbs, offerings include both food and non-food items – dairy, honey, seeds, body care, even handcrafted ceramics.
6:57 PM: Just in from Washington State Ferries:
The #2 Issaquah is out of service until further notice due to #1 main engine issues. This cancels the 6:30 p.m., 7:25 p.m., 8:25 p.m. from Vashon to Fauntleroy, the 7:00 p.m., 7:55 p.m., 8:50 p.m. from Fauntleroy to Vashon, the 9:20 p.m. from Vashon to Southworth and the 9:45 p.m. from Southworth to Vashon.
9:34 PM: Still on one boat, and that one’s running behind schedule, WSF says.
12:10 AM: WSF says the Issaquah is fixed, and will be back in service starting at 4:05 am.
Our toplines from the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s monthly meeting this past Tuesday:
BRIDGE DETOUR TRAFFIC: The SW Barton route to/from the Fauntleroy ferry dock is a lot busier since the West Seattle Bridge closed almost six months ago. The FCA is working on a letter to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and SDOT‘s bridge-project leader Heather Marx, asking them to come take a look in person and see what can be done about it. The group is also collecting photos and video to show the problem.
FERRY WATCH: No major news, but anecdotally, long lines are making a comeback in Fauntleroy, though Washington State Ferries says traffic is still off a third from this time last year.
POLICE: Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger from the Southwest Precinct said one of the crime trends they’re keeping a close watch on is gunfire, with several reports in West Seattle so far this month. Regarding the department-wide shift of 100 officers to patrol, she said the SWP will likely lose its Community Police Team members in the redeployment, so the long-running projects/issues they’ve been working on will have to be rethought.
ON THE MOVE: FCA tracks new community arrivals and says 100+ people have moved into Fauntleroy this past quarter.
The Fauntleroy Community Association is, so far as we know, the last West Seattle neighborhood group to regularly publish and distribute a printed newsletter. “Neighbors,” sent to FCA members, is edited by Judy Pickens and published quarterly. It’s always newsy: The newest edition, which you can also read online, includes updates on ferry traffic, the planned culvert replacement project, and the Fauntleroy Fall Festival‘s pandemic postponement. Other stories include two looks into history – how Seattle’s “redlining” is still reflected in current demographics, and the soggy saga of the development of the Fauntlee Hills subdivision. Interested in more history? Editions going back to 2003 are archived here.
P.S. As also noted in “Neighbors,” the FCA’s business meetings are on second Tuesdays, which means the next one is two days away (7 pm September 8th) – if interested in attending, you can register here.
1:54 PM: In many ways, this will not be a typical Labor Day weekend. But in at least one way, it’s starting in typical fashion. Fron Washington State Ferries, “There is an estimated one-hour wait for drivers departing the Fauntleroy terminal.”
5:59 PM: As pointed out by commenters, the Southworth terminal is currently out of commission.
There will be no set time on sailings for the Fauntleroy and Vashon route at this time until further notice.
The Southworth terminal is closed to all sailings until further notice due to mechanical issues. Alternative routes include the Seattle/Bremerton, Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Pt. Defiance/Tahlequah routes. Sailings between Fauntleroy and Vashon will resume as scheduled. Updates will occur as more information becomes available.
WSF also says, though, the “extended wait” at Fauntleroy is over.
8:01 PM: The Southworth terminal is reopening, WSF says.
3:53 PM: A reader reported seeing what he believed were plainclothes federal agents outside a house near the Endolyne business district in Fauntleroy just after 10 this morning. Now we know what was going on: They arrested a man on charges of making a bomb threat. Here’s the news release:
A 36-year-old Seattle man was arrested today and appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle for making a threat to damage or destroy a building – in this case a Portland, Oregon, police precinct, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. Kyle Robert Tornow is accused of using an online communication system to claim he had planted explosives at a Portland, Oregon, Police precinct.
According to records in the case, on July 24, 2020, Tornow allegedly used the Portland Police TrackIT system to send a message claiming he had planted an explosive at one of the city’s police precincts. Using an alias, Tornow claimed he had planted a bomb that was “undetectable” to canine searchers and that if he were caught, “others will take my place and immediately detonate the bomb.” The communication claimed it was a “felony threat” and needed to be taken “seriously to avoid death.”
FBI agents were able to trace the communications back to Tornow, and he was arrested without incident this morning.
Making a threat to damage or destroy a building is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. … The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods.
Charging documents in the case say Tornow was traced via an email address he used when sending the threat to the City of Portland, as well as an IP address, and that his threat, addressing Portland police directly, was to blow up a precinct “Unless your officers disengage your war with the citizens of Portland.” We’re checking on his custody status.
ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: The U.S. Attorney’s Office tells us he is out of custody, granted conditional release.
Early heads-up from Washington State Ferries:
The Southworth terminal facility must close early on Thursday, August 27 for maintenance. This requires the cancellation of the last three sailings of the day between Fauntleroy and Southworth. The following late-night/early morning sailings will be canceled:
• 11:45 p.m. (Thursday, 8/27) Fauntleroy to Southworth
• 12:30 a.m. (Friday, 8/28) Southworth to Fauntleroy
• 1:00 a.m. (Friday, 8/28) Fauntleroy to Southworth
This will not affect sailings between Fauntleroy and Vashon Island. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we maintain our ferry system.
Fauntleroy Children’s Center has bid farewell to a legend – longtime staff member Gerry Cunningham is retiring:
Her retirement party was a pandemic-style celebration – including a car parade – across the street from FCC (which is in the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse), in the Fauntleroy UCC lot this past Thursday:
FCC’s tribute to Gerry explained in part:
Gerry has more energy than just about anyone I know. For years she has been able to run circles around me. Her enthusiasm and love for cooking make her one in a million. She has a room of cookbooks (literally over 1000) that she would pour over looking for new ideas and ways to inspire the children to try new foods. Cooking for a crowd was second nature to her. You might remember Gerry and Lauri cooking spaghetti dinners to raise money for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, then spending their weekend volunteering to coordinate the registration and staying until the end to help with cleanup…just like the FCC potlucks, FCC picnics and auction.
Those who stopped by to wish her well got a cookbook with her most popular recipes over the years:
If you missed the event, you can still get a card or note to Gerry via the FCC.
Gerry has worked there for more than 20 years.
FIRST ITEM, 8:57 PM: From Linda:
My SUV was broken into last night (I accidentally left the door unlocked) in the Fauntleroy neighborhood near the ferry. There was nothing of value to the thieves, but they took my work crate full of financial brochures and notes. This won’t be of value to anyone, but me. I’m expecting the papers to be dumped somewhere and have walked the neighborhood looking for them. I’m hoping if someone finds them, I can retrieve them. They also took my kiddo’s epi-pens, which they probably won’t realize until they open the case. It’s a small black case with two generic epinephrine injectors, some Benadryl and Pepcid for allergies. I can replace them, but if found, would love them back.
Let us know if you think you’ve seen any of that, and we’ll connect you.
ADDED 10:24 PM: Just received from Katherine, a rude “welcome” for her new neighbors:
On Tuesday morning around 4 AM, a man in a white pick up truck stole a trailer off of my new neighbor’s Penske moving truck that was parked on Admiral way facing uphill, just before the Schmitz Park bridge.
My security footage is a little grainy, so we couldn’t get a license plate. Any tips would be greatly appreciated as they are on the hook for the costs.
2:13 PM: Avoid Fauntleroy Way near the ferry dock for a while – Seattle Fire medics are tending to an injured bicyclist in the southbound lane just north of the dock. Though it was initially reported as a collision, police subsequently told dispatch “this is medical, NOT a collision.”
2:56 PM: The call is closed, so the street should be clear.
Now that he’s had two weeks to settle in, new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman is making the rounds of community meetings. This past Tuesday night, he introduced himself to the Fauntleroy Community Association.
After sharing some of his background – which we reported here last month – he outlined his three top priorities for the precinct:
1. Violent crime (though he acknowledged it’s relatively low in West Seattle). That includes pre-emptive action – he said he tells his officers, if you can legally take a gun from someone who shouldn’t have it, do that. He also promised that shots-fired calls will be investigated thoroughly.
2. Auto theft – the city is in the top 25 nationwide for this crime, and though local numbers aren’t horrible, he wants to reduce them, as it’s a “very impactful” crime. He has a crime-analysis detective mapping for preventive action.
3. Burglaries – Also not high here but this is another “impactful” crime. So if there are hot spots, he wants to get resources on top of that..
West Seattle’s crime trends right now: Overall, 16 percent down from this time last year, “no other part of the city is looking as good as West Seattle right now” – and of course he acknowledges COVID-19 and the bridge closure are major factors. Violent crime is down 15 percent, auto theft down 5 percent, burglaries are down 22 percent. For Fauntleroy in particular, violent crime is almost non-existent, burglaries are down 38 percent, but auto theft is up 18 percent over this time last year.
In Q&A, he was asked who’s doing all the car-stealing. Mostly people who use the cars to commit other crimes, such as mail theft. He was also asked about the current political battle between the mayor and council over “defunding” SPD (the council discussed this further at its Wednesday budget meeting but has not yet voted on anything). He said he has spent several days reassuring officers at roll calls who are “wondering if they’re going to get a pink slip any day now,” while also hearing older officers wondering “how soon can I get out.” He’s hoping “the rhetoric calms down a bit” – he agrees that there’s an overreliance on 911 to solve our society’s problems, and acknowledges that police have traditionally ben asked to do a lot of things they shouldn’t do. “There’s room for a bigger conversation about what police should be doing, shouldn’t be doing.” but he hopes there’s room for a rational conversation, though he says 50 percent would be too big a cut – “a cut like that would be devastating and would seriously affect the level of service we would provide.” As for specific types of change, Grossman offered support for the CAHOOTS model. “That would take a lot of work away from us – that’s all right, but that’s not in place yet. … Would probably save the city a bunch of money and might turn out better than some of our calls.”
One other question – about the whereabouts of Steve Strand, since Grossman has a new second-in-command, Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger (the position Strand previously held). He noted that Strand has been promoted to captain and is now one of three citywide night captains.
Capt. Grossman is scheduled to be a guest at tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting, as noted in our morning preview.
Also discussed at the FCA meeting – the recent Washington State Ferries online community meeting (here’s our report), the recent District 1 Community Network meeting (here’s our report), and planning for the next annual community survey to be conducted by FCA.
The Fauntleroy Community Association will next meet in September; watch fauntleroy.net for updates.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The pandemic has hit Washington State Ferries hard, and that’s likely to affect service for a long time to come.
So warned WSF executives including assistant transportation secretary Amy Scarton in tonight’s systemwide online meeting.
But before we get to that – some news about the Fauntleroy ferry terminal.
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
New public-health requirements have dealt a body blow to a venerated West Seattle institution – Little Pilgrim School.
In a letter yesterday to parents, the leaders of Fauntleroy Church announced that the United Church of Christ congregation was closing its 68-year-old preschool.
“The programmatic, financial, staffing, and health and safety gaps between what we are able to do and what we would have to do to begin preschool this fall are great and accompanied by many significant unknowns,” the letter said.
Even if the school were to open in the fall with full enrollment, overwhelming changes would have been needed to meet COVID-19 guidelines, the letter continued. They included cutting class size in half, shortening the day to allow for extra cleaning, and greatly reducing the cooperative play that is central to how young children learn.
Parents initiated Little Pilgrim as a ministry of the church in 1952 to serve families with children whose birth dates kept them from starting public kindergarten at age five. The following year it shifted to a preschool program for four-year-olds and later added classes for twos and threes.
Over the years, Little Pilgrim enrolled an estimated 3,700 children, including some second generation. When the school transitioned to online learning in March because of COVID-19, Director Jenny Romischer was leading a staff of four teachers and an aide serving 60 students.
“The legacy of love they have given the children and families of this community over the years is something for which our church will always be thankful,” the letter said.
The church is processing tuition refunds and, in due time, will look at options for using the former classrooms in a different way to serve the community.
12:07 PM: Two days after Saturday’s huge demonstration in the West Seattle Junction, protests against racism, for justice and equity, continue around the city, region, and nation. For everyone asking what else s ahead, we have word of two more this week.
TONIGHT: ‘Take a Knee for Justice’ is something you are invited to do at 8 pm outside yuur own home – or, outside Alki UCC, which just sent this announcement:
Alki United Church of Christ invites you to a vigil tonight, June 8, to “Take a Knee for Justice,” part of the worldwide peaceful demonstration of support for people of color who have sustained systemic injustice for far too long.
At 7:50 pm, we gather at outside at 6115 SW Hinds in West Seattle; the church bells will be rung promptly at 8:00 and 8:08 pm.
For those who choose not to kneel, bring a lawn chair to sit on, or stand by/sit in your vehicle. Please maintain social distancing and wear face masks. Questions/information: email@example.com
ADDED 3:45 PM: Two more churches have let us know they are participating: Tibbetts UMC (3940 41st SW; WSB sponsor) is gathering outside at 7:45, kneeling at 8. Also Fauntleroy UCC Church (9140 California SW): “Park in the church lot and be sure to wear a mask. We’ll social distance along the sidewalk. Bring a folding chair if you cannot kneel or simply stand in support of a bias-free society.” (One more addition: Per comments, Admiral Church, 4320 SW Hill.)
UPDATED 4:04 PM – 2 ON WEDNESDAY: At noon, a family rally outside Louisa Boren STEM K-8 (5950 Delridge Way SW), “to proclaim that Black Lives Matter.” You’re asked to wear masks and spread out along the sidewalk.
Also Wednesday, the Community March for Black Lives is planned, starting at Greenbridge Plaza:
People of White Center, we stand together in solidarity to fight for justice for our black brothers and sisters.
-We will gather at Greenbridge Plaza at 4 pm
-Hear from community members and leaders
-Begin Peaceful March towards 16th AVE at 5 pm .
Please bring your face mask.
The plaza is on 8th SW just south of SW Roxbury.
Anything else coming up in West Seattle, White Center, South Park this week? Please let us know so we can add it to the list – firstname.lastname@example.org or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Just in from Washington State Ferries:
Until further notice, all state ferries will operate on their current reduced schedules with the option for phased service changes based on the COVID-19 recovery and several other factors.
Any changes in service to Washington State Ferries’ current COVID Response Service Plan will be based on four metrics, all of which will be considered before any modifications are made on any route:
· Ridership – Recent system-wide numbers remain down more than 60% compared to this time last year.
· Crew availability – More than 150 crewmembers are either people who are at higher risk for severe illness or unavailable due to the pandemic.
· Vessel availability – There is a lack of boats available for service due to the maintenance shutdown earlier this year, combined with a continued reduction of U.S. Coast Guard inspection capacity.
· Funding – Washington State Department of Transportation is currently losing millions in revenue from the gas tax, state ferry farebox recovery, etc.
“Given the constraints associated with our four pillars of service, we unfortunately cannot increase our number of sailings based on ridership alone,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF. “As we enter what is normally our peak season, our priority as always is to provide service based on the safety of our passengers and crews.”
A crane was needed to install the windows – we recorded some video:
Here’s what one of the new windows looks like:
The Hall is a popular venue for events and meetings – this was a perfect time to get the work done since those aren’t allowed to resume yet. (Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, which operates The Hall, is offering weekly family meals for pickup, though – more info here.)
Thanks for the tips and pic! One month after we reported that The Original Bakery in Fauntleroy was gearing up to reopen, it’s happened. Today was the first day back for the beloved bakery, now equipped with a take-out window. The announcement:
This week we will be open for takeout with a limited menu of donuts and pastries. We will not be serving coffee or espresso yet. Our hours are from 9 am-3 pm Thursday through Saturday. Sorry, no telephone or online orders. We will operate similarly to a food truck to start, first come, first serve. When we sell out of items, we will be out for the day. We appreciate your patience as this process will move a bit slower than our regular service. We will take orders and contactless payment (credit card only) at the walk-up window. There will be a pick-up table at the far end door when your name is called.
The Original Bakery is at 9253 45th SW. (And of course we’re updating our ongoing restaurants/food/beverage-businesses list.)
Huge surprise this afternoon for physician and researcher Stephen Plymate, MD, as he returned to his home near Lincoln Park after a walk. Family and friends surprised him with a classic coronavirus-era celebration – a drive-by parade in honor of a national award he’s just won.
Dr. Plymate, who has worked at the UW and the Puget Sound VA for about 20 years, is the 2020 recipient of the Middleton Award, granted annually to a VA scientist for “outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to the health care of Veterans.” As his wife Dr. Lisa Plymate explains, he “is the 4th physician to be granted this award from the Puget Sound VA in the 58 years it has been given out. He’s the first, however, to have his awards ceremony, usually held in D.C. with great fanfare, thwarted by a virus.” But family and friends weren’t going to let the virus preclude a parade, which we recorded on video:
The pandemic has kept Lisa Plymate on the east coast, so, she explains, “Steve’s Tacoma daughter Corinne worked hard to organize this surprise. She contacted his lab and colleagues plus family and friends.”
Along with his work for the Veterans Administration, Stephen Plymate is also a veteran himself, a retired U.S. Army Colonel. A local veterans’ advocate, Seattle Police Lt. Steve Strand, led today’s parade, in his dress uniform:
Pre-parade, as he walked unsuspectingly up the street, Dr. Plymate was serenaded by one of his neighbors, tenor José Iñiguez from Encanto Arts – we caught a bit of that on video too:
More about Dr. Plymate’s accomplishments, from his wife: He “is professor of endocrinology in the Department of Medicine and director of Prostate Cancer Endocrinology as well as a founding member of the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research at the UW and Fred Hutchison. His work has focused on prostate cancer and its treatment for over 25 years. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is internationally known for his work,” which she says he continues to do about “80 hours per week” in addition to remaining “an avid skier and bicyclist.”
Lisa Plymate adds, “Steve’s 12-year-old granddaughter Liora compiled a montage of congratulatory videos sent by family members and colleagues from around the world. This is also a surprise he will be able to watch after the parade. The entire Plymate clan thanks all the scientists, friends, and neighbors who have helped us put this together in his honor. And they’re grateful for this bit of excitement during our stay-at-home era!”
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
When school closures started in March, most of the 72 teachers leading Salmon in the Schools projects across the city immediately released their tiny fish into the wild on the chance that some might survive. In West Seattle, however, most salmon teachers found ways to keep growing their fish and to share releases electronically with their students.
Arbor Heights Elementary‘s tank tender Kristin Waitt Hutchinson spun into action as soon as the closure notice came. She quickly got a freshwater tank ready in her garage for the 150 coho fry she had been helping teacher Angie Nall care for at the school. Two months later, she brought the robust fish to Fauntleroy Park, where Angie shared the release as it happened with her students on Zoom. Read More
That security video shows the thief who took Ariana‘s red 2014 BMW x3 from her Fauntleroy driveway. Note the accomplice moving solid-waste containers at upper left. Here’s the plate:
If you see it, call 911.
As previewed here Monday, the Fauntleroy Community Association held its annual meeting online last night; it ran less than half an hour, as shown in the archived video above. Big change from last year, when 200 people attended the annual meeting (aka Fauntleroy Food Fest) at The Hall at Fauntleroy, but they expressed hope they’ll be able to return to that format next year. Tuesday night, they started by recapping the organization’s 2019 priorities and accomplishments, from events like the Fauntleroy Fall Festival to environmental achievements like the beach creosote cleanup.
Elected as officers – Mike Dey, President; Alexis Zolner, Treasurer; Frank Immel, Secretary; Kimberly Terry, Membership Secretary; Bill Wellington; Marty Westerman; Nils von Veh; Alan Grainger; Catherine Bailey; Susan Lantz-Dey; Sydney Hammerquist; Kris Ilgenfritz; David Haggerty; and Bruce Butterfield.
Mentioned along the way: The Endolyne Triangle planter project welcomes volunteers – email@example.com.
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE LETTER: One of the many issues mentioned briefly as a priority for FCA – as it is for just about every organization on the peninsula – was the West Seattle Bridge closure. Fauntleroy has a unique view, as the community through which traffic to/from Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula flows via Washington State Ferries. FCA sent this letter to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:
The FCA board has monthly business meetings, usually at 7 pm on second Tuesdays, so the next one will be June 9th. Watch fauntleroy.net for updates.