West Seattle, Washington
Austin Street Lights is back. Mark Bader sent the video, photo, and an invitation to come enjoy the music-synched show:
Our Christmas light display on Austin Street is up and running! This will be our 5th year with our lights set to music. We enjoy putting this together each year, and hopefully this helps put a smile on your face during these difficult times.
The best way for you to experience the lights is from your car – tune your radio to 99.5 and listen to a number of songs synchronized to the lights. Please be respectful of the neighbors and of course, if you feel the need to dance in the street, make sure you social-distance.
The songs will play from 4 pm to 10 pm through New Year’s Day. We are easy to find, on SW Austin Street and 37th Ave SW [map], at the top of Gatewood hill.
This might be West Seattle’s only music-synched light show this year, since West Seattle Lights is no more and West Seattle Yuletide is taking a pandemic break. We’re adding it to the list in our West Seattle Holiday Guide and welcome suggested additions, with or without photos/video – email@example.com – thank you!
12:25 PM: Two incidents of note this midday:
GATEWOOD: That tipped forklift at a construction site in the 3700 block of SW Ida briefly led to a rescue callout – but it was downsized before most of the units arrived. We talked to a supervisor at the scene who told us the forklift driver lost footing and went sideways. The driver was not seriously hurt. (added) SFD says he’s a 62-year-old man taken to the hospital by private ambulance, in stable condition.
HIGHLAND PARK WAY: An incident logged as a medical response brought out fire and police near the bottom of the Highland Park Way hill. Police have just reopened westbound lanes, and Metro Route 131 has resumed service on the hill, but we’re waiting for word back from SFD to see what the incident was about. (added) SFD says it was a crash (though not logged that way), with two people taken to the hospital by private ambulance, in stable condition – a 30-year-old man and 28-year-old woman.
ADDED 5:40 PM: From SPD, the rest of the story on the Highland Park Way incident:
Officers arrested a woman and recovered a stolen vehicle in West Seattle this morning after struck another motorist while trying to flee from police.
Around 10:45 AM officers responded to the 800 block of SW Trenton Street for a report of two people passed out in a gray Honda, which was partially blocking traffic.
Officers approached the car — which had no license plates — saw a man and a woman asleep inside, and knocked on the female driver’s window.
The driver awoke and quickly sped away, colliding with another driver in the 6800 block of Highland Drive SouthWest. The female suspect then fled on foot into a wooded area nearby, where police found her a short time later.
Police learned the Honda had been stolen in Renton and its driver was in possession of a modified key, commonly used by auto thieves.
The suspect and her passenger were taken to Harborview Medical Center for injuries sustained in the crash. Police also sought a warrant to draw the suspect’s blood to investigate whether she was intoxicated.
Officers interviewed and released the male passenger and booked the female suspect inot the King County Jail for possession of a stolen vehicle and felony hit and run.
The driver struck by the suspect, was injured and checked out at the scene of the crash, but declined to be transported by medics.
Construction staging and signage are in view along SW Holly in the 40th/41st vicinity, as
Seattle City Light gets ready for a monthlong project. The work is “to repair and reconstruct” underground wiring for area streetlights, and to replace the fixtures and poles. The work will involve trenching, which SCL notes might affect traffic along SW Holly, which some use as an alternate to Fauntleroy Way. They’re planning to have flaggers on hand for that. SCL says no outages are expected during the work, which will be done on weekdays between 7 am and 3:30 pm, possibly starting later this week. Here’s the official flyer.
Two quick West Seattle Crime Watch notes before our bridge-decision coverage continues:
STOLEN VEHICLE: Alison reports, “I live in the Admiral District and my car (1997 white Subaru Outback Impreza) was stolen last night off California. License plate BHA1397. Small bear sticker on the back, crack in windshield.” Call 911 if you see it (or any other known stolen car).
PACKAGE THIEF ON VIDEO: The security video (see it here) is from Molly, who says the theft happened on her Gatewood porch last night, near 41st/Holden.
6:51 PM: Thanks for the tips. We’re hearing from multiple people in Gatewood, mostly along SW Holden, from California SW east, who say they lost power about 10 minutes ago. The City Light map initially only showed 1 customer affected but has just updated to 73. We’re checking on the cause; we’ve been hearing some scanner traffic tonight about wires downed in the wind.
7:15 PM: We just drove SW Holden, confirming that the outage goes east to 37th SW. No sign of City Light in the area, though (if you see them working anywhere, let us know).
7:43 PM: A caller tells us City Light now has a crew at 41st/Holden.
10:40 PM: Outage is in its fifth hour. No official update from SCL.
11:46 PM: The map now shows most of the outage resolved. We’ll follow up with SCL tomorrow regarding the cause.
ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: SCL spokesperson Julie Moore tells WSB the outage was caused by “equipment failure.”
Two more West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:
STOLEN JEEP WRANGLER: Layne‘s blue Jeep Wrangler was stolen near 34th/Thistle sometime late last night or early this morning.
Its plates read BMODE24. If you see it, call 911.
CAR BREAK-IN/THEFT ATTEMPT: Not far from the pickup-truck theft reported earlier today, this happened to Kristi‘s car: “I wanted to alert neighbors that my vehicle was broken into this morning, probably around 12:30 am. I called the police and described what was done to my Honda, and they suspect it was a theft that got interrupted for some reason. The area is SW Portland and 41st. … I park my car on the street right in front of our house.”
We live on Portland & 39th and early this morning (12:40 a.m.) our truck was stolen. It’s a 1998 blue Chevy Silverado with a 6-inch lift on it. There’s a decal on the back left corner of the cab window that says “Sanchos Tacos.” The rims are very distinct as they have skulls in the center of them. Per our night-vision cameras, we could only tell that the thief was male and wearing a high-visibility vest, light-colored pants, and dark sneakers with a little white on them. He had his hood up to conceal his identity.
(Added: Plate – WA B55189Y.) Call 911 if you see it.
For neighbors in need, Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood now has a Little Free Pantry, stocked with food and hygiene items, built with volunteers, donations, and grant money. It’s on the open patio by the church’s lower-level doors at the corner of 39th SW and SW Thistle. The church’s youth/family director Nicole Klinemeier emailed to share the news, explaining, “The top has food items, and on the bottom there is a bin with hygiene items such as diapers, menstruation supplies, deodorant, etc.” She also says the church grounds will soon feature a prayer walk focusing on hunger, similar to the Black Lives Matter prayer walk we featured in June.
Last November, we reported on the new communications tower that was going up by Myrtle Reservoir Park, next to the one it would replace. It’s part of the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN), described to us at the time as a “critical upgrade” of an existing countywide network used by public-safety responders, authorized by voters in 2015. The West Seattle tower project time frame was described then as “six to nine months” of construction, followed by removal of the old tower.
Last week, a City Council vote approving the “interlocal cooperation agreement” for PSERN reminded us that it was time to follow up on the West Seattle tower’s status, since eleven months have now passed. Here’s what we found out, via King County Information Technology:
*COVID-19 has affected everyone’s work on/at this site, especially supply chains and construction services. City of Seattle and King County Metro also have work at this site, including needing to move their antennas and other emergency radio equipment to the new tower in coordination with vendors and in compliance with Federal Communications Commission licensing processes. This equipment must be removed by these agencies before PSERN can dismantle the original tower and complete work at the site. The PSERN Project (Project) does not have the legal authority to force those agencies to move to the new tower, but all agencies are coordinating their efforts.
*Work on the West Seattle tower location began in late summer 2019 and the main construction was finished in April 2020. However, work continues with some service trucks and a crane in the area to move equipment from the old tower to the new PSERN tower. This duration of this work has lengthened and will likely last through April 2021. Construction work is expected to be intermittent throughout this time.
*The PSERN project team has been actively working with the City of Seattle and King County Metro to solidify the schedule. Once those other agencies have completed their work, the project team can dismantle the old West Seattle tower. That should take about a month.
*Every effort is being made to remove the original West Seattle tower as quickly as possible, so that transition to the upgraded emergency radio system can continue on schedule. The project team says they greatly appreciate the patience of neighbors during these challenging times while collaboration between multiple parties and transition preparations continues.
The cost of this part of the ~$281 million PSERN project was cited last year as about $800,000. Meantime, we’re told site neighbors should receive an update via postal mail sometime this month.
Two reader reports:
ROCK INCIDENT: We got multiple reports from Gatewood about someone in a car throwing a rock at a letter carrier on Saturday, as shown toward the end of the short video above, sent by Keith. One of the other witnesses, Carter, reported retrieving the rock afterward and saying it “could have done major damage.” So far as we know, the letter carrier was not hurt.
ABANDONED MOTORCYCLE: We’ve received word of two sightings in the past three days of this motorcycle near Longfellow Creek, which suggests it’s been dumped there:
That photo is from Jeff; there’s a plate on the motorcycle, starting with 2E. We’ve already checked with the person who emailed about a similar motorcycle stolen in Top Hat recently; not theirs. Police also have been notified.
From Joey in Gatewood:
Last night (9/6), our garage was broken into and two of our bikes were stolen. My wife’s new blue Specialized Rock Hopper (size small), mine… men’s Specialized Sirrus Sport (size large). We live (in the 4100 block of) SW Rose St. Our garage faces the alley, which is between Rose and Southern (right off California).
Yet another incident in which a catalytic converter was targeted – but this time, Steve reports, the would-be thief/thieves failed:
This morning a little after 5 am on the 3900 Block of SW Rose Street, my neighbors and I were awoken by my car alarm. The windows of my Prius were not smashed but my catalytic converter was cut and damaged. The culprits were presumably scared off by the alarm before they could take it.
A neighbor told me he saw an older powder-blue BMW next to my car (which was out of place) and which had two male occupants, one was possibly Caucasian or Asian. Another neighbor also saw this vehicle near mine with two men, although she couldn’t make out any specific attributes.
The SPD incident # is 2020-253114.
Four reader reports:
MORE GATEWOOD GUNFIRE: Late last night, we heard a dispatch for possible gunfire in the 7100 block of California SW. Did not hear any report of what if anything officers found at the time, but we just received this via text:
Shots fired again in Gatewood last night, same alley as the car shooting 3 weeks ago. This time shots were fired directly into our neighbors’ house, through the kitchen and bedroom windows. Police have been notified. Fortunately no one hurt.
BUSINESS BURGLARY: The report and photo are from Mark:
Just popped in the Rite Aid on California Ave south of the Junction, saw a shattered window to right of door. Asked the employee on duty, says around 5 am someone broke in and stole cartons of cigarettes and about 30 or so airplane bottles of liquor. They were caught on camera, though.
RACK THEFT ATTEMPT: From M:
Someone tried to steal the kayak rack off my SUV (Friday) night, while it was parked in my driveway in Seaview. Both the rack and the crossbars have locks, but they still managed to break off the end cap and try to slide it off the crossbar. My car was broken into a few months ago in the same location, though there was nothing in it to take. There’s a very bright motion light in the driveway, but doesn’t seem to bother them. They must’ve spent a good deal of time trying to get the rack off.
FROM THE ‘DUMPED/LIKELY STOLEN’ FILE: Recognize these camping chairs?
Texter just spotted them at the California/Fontanelle bus stop.
REMINDER – CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY: Hear from and talk with Southwest Precinct police at 7 pm Tuesday (August 18) during the first West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting in six months. Online, of course – connection info is in our preview.
9:55 AM: SFD is arriving at a house-fire dispatch in the 8200 block of California SW. So far, they believe it’s just a dryer fire.
9:58 AM: Most of the units are being dismissed. Our crew confirms the dryer itself has been pulled out of the house.
10:03 AM: Added above – photo of dryer. No one hurt.
Two reports so far today:
ANOTHER CAR DAMAGED BY GUNFIRE: If you heard gunshots early Saturday in the Gatewood/Morgan Junction area – here’s what the police report we obtained today says it turned out to be:
(Saturday morning) I was dispatched to (the 7000 block of) California AV SW, unit to investigate the report of property damage in the form of bullet holes in (victim’s) vehicle that occurred overnight.
I contacted (the victim) in the alley behind his building (east of California AV SW) where his vehicle was parked, backed in to a parking spot perpendicular to the alley. It was immediately obvious that the front and hood of his vehicle was riddled with fresh bullet holes. (He) stated that he approaches his vehicle from behind so he noticed a large wet spot running away from his vehicle but did not notice anything was wrong until he attempted to start his vehicle and “a bunch of warning lights went off” and it would not start.
(We) located 8- spent 9mm Blazer brass shell casings scattered around the alleyway in front of (the) vehicle. We also located 8 separate bullet holes in the front bumper, grill, and hood of (the) vehicle. There were vehicles parked directly on both sides of the’s vehicle as well as in many other spots of the parking strip. None of the other had any damage to them. (The victim) stated that he had just bought the vehicle approximately a month ago and just moved into this apartment building approximately a week and a half prior and did not know of anyone in his personal or professional life that would do something like this. I agreed with that the incident did seem to be targeted toward him or at least his vehicle specifically. A check with SPD dispatch showed a shots fired call with multiple callers from the east of this address at approximately 0048 Hrs this morning (2020-222259). Officers responded and did not locate anything.
No indication whether it might be related to last week’s incidents; police said the weapon in those appeared to have been a shotgun.
STOLEN BACKPACK: Tina hopes you can help find her child’s backpack, stolen Sunday at Lowman Beach Park and containing some items of hers as well: “The backpack is black with Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. We were at the beach just past all of the houses at the very end of the road.” If yu see an abandoned backpack like that, let us know and we’ll connect you.
P.S. Thanks to the person who found Linda‘s stolen documents and got them back to her after seeing the report here!
Shared by a father who wanted to alert others:
(Thursday) evening around 730 pm, my 12 yo daughter and 5 yo son walked from our home a couple blocks heading north to the water tower on 35th Ave near Our Lady of Guadelupe church.
They were testing the safety watch I just bought for my 5 yo son (Wednesday).
They were stalked by a man, 6 foot to 6 foot 6 inches, in 50s or 60s, thin build, gray straight shoulder length hair and a bald patch on the back of his head. He wore a blue gray tee shirt and blue jeans.
My daughter described seeing him arguing with someone across the street. He then noticed my children and walked past them heading opposite their direction of travel and on the opposite side of the street. My daughter’s instincts kicked in and she noticed once out of sight behind them he had turned around and crossed the street now following behind them.
He followed them when they crossed the street two separate times and changed pace to keep up with them. At the water tower play structure park, a neighbor noticed the man following my kids. She overheard my daughter tell her brother she was concerned about the man. Our neighbor stepped in to offer help. My daughter and son went straight home while (the neighbor) observed the man. He knew he was being watched, spit on the ground in her direction, making eye contact with her, and then left.
During this stalking he went so far as to follow my kids several blocks, keep pace with them, cross the street following them while my daughter attempted to ditch him, then tried to make himself appear as if he was taking photos on his phone at the park. This person is dangerous. The neighbor was thankfully in the right place to help and my daughter was savvy.
This incident is reported to Seattle Police as of the writing of this email. Please share this story to help protect our community and our children.
9 PM: Thanks for the texted tip! 74 customers are without electricity right now in the south Morgan Junction/west Gatewood area, near California/Myrtle.
The City Light map says the cause is under investigation, but the texter reports a big clue – a dead crow.
9:55 PM: The City Light site now confirms “bird/animal” as the cause.
11:51 PM: Thanks to Sue for those tips plus word it’s over after four hours.
FIRST REPORT, 10:12 PM: Thanks to Jason for the photo from a crash scene this past hour in Gatewood, in the 42100 block of SW Othello [map]. The driver is reported to have hit parked cars before crashing into a tree, and was taken to a hospital.
ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: Another crash was reported a few blocks away, at 41st/Austin, just after 10:30 pm:
The owner of a parked F-250 pickup truck that was hit and damaged sent that photo, showing blue paint from the hit-run vehicle. He says it was a “small blue car” that crashed shortly thereafter, according to the police officer who took his report.
Educators, parents, and students lined fauntleroy Way by Gatewood Elementary earlier this hour, in the first of two planned West Seattle protests this afternoon on the day of action called for by regional Black Lives Matter leadership.
The school community also wanted to show it’s undaunted despite the theft of a BLM support banner the PTA had placed along the fence.
Coming up at 2 pm, groups are planning to march silently, also in support of the BLM call, to The Junction from Morgan Junction and Alaska Junction. Meantime, more than 50 local businesses have closed to support the general strike that’s also happening today – our list is here.
If you can’t, or choose not to, march, but want to contemplate action against racism, injustice, and inequity – take a short walk around Peace Lutheran Church. We happened onto this while out walking earlier this week. The signs are small – requiring a close look:
Along with explanatory signs, there are simple hand-lettered signs including these:
The church is at 39th/Thistle.
The photo and report are from Julie:
I am writing to share the upsetting and disappointing news that a Black Lives Matter sign our PTA placed on the Myrtle St. fence at Gatewood Elementary School was removed and stolen last night. Someone was trying very hard to block this message of solidarity and support for people of color in our community, and we ask that people be on the lookout.
We are planning to print another and post again.
In summer 2018, we reported on the city’s plan to expand the Seattle Parks-owned area of Orchard Street Ravine by buying 7137 38th SW, a 5,600-square-foot parcel (map) holding the century-plus-old house shown in the King County Assessor photo above. Today, Parks announced it will be tearing down the house soon:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is moving forward with the structure demolition in the Orchard Street Ravine at 7137 38th Ave. SW. SPR purchased the property in 2018 to increase the green space in the Orchard Street Ravine, a natural area and important green space connector for the West Seattle community.
Watterson Excavating will be working in late May to demolish the structure on site. Between May and September, the Seattle Conservation Corps will put in erosion control measures and hydroseed the site. The property was purchased with community support and funding provided by the Seattle Park District.
In 2018, the city said the purchase price would be $235,000 (records verify that’s what was paid), and that it expected additional costs of $25,000 for “staff time, title insurance, and closing cost,” plus “up to $100,000 for demolition of the house.”
5:17 PM: Just received this from Seattle Public Utilities:
Friday evening, May 22, Seattle Public Utilities will begin an emergency repair on a large, 16-inch water main that is leaking in West Seattle near SW Holly Street between California Ave SW and 39th Ave SW.
The repair work is expected to be completed by early Saturday morning, May 23, to avoid construction over the Memorial Day weekend.
In order to safely complete this work, crews must temporarily shut off water to about 65 homes in the area. Impacted customers will receive a door hanger from SPU on May 21 with information about the water outage, which starts at 9 pm on Friday, May 22 and ends at 5 am on Saturday, May 23.
The noisiest construction work will occur between 8 pm and 10 pm on May 22 when crews are breaking pavement to access the leaking water main. However, customers in the area may also experience some overnight noise while crews work to repair the pipe.
During the repair, if customers have questions about the work or their water service, they should contact SPU’s 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.
7:14 PM: We went over for a look and found the NO PARKING signs along Holly in the 41st/42nd vicinity, so looks like that’s expected to be the main work zone.