West Seattle, Washington
More than half a dozen callers to 911 earlier this hour reported what sounded like gunfire in south Highland Park. One location mentioned in radio communication: 12th/Trenton. No word of any victims turning up, and we haven’t heard of any gunfire evidence (shell casings, damage) so far, but police are in the area investigating.
Sometime “soon,” the city says, it’ll conside the issue of whether Camp Second Chance can stay at the city-owned Myers Way Parcels. Current city law calls for sanctioned encampments to stay a maximum of two years at a site, and C2C is coming to the end of its second sanctioned year (following more than half a year of unsanctioned time at the site). Last week, the Highland Park Action Committee convened a “listening session” for community members and others to speak about whether HPAC should support an extension. As noted in our coverage, HPAC promised to follow up with a survey – and now that’s available. Find it here (deadline February 14th). Separate from HPAC’s process of deciding whether to support an extension for the camp, the city says it is accepting comments too, via the emailbox email@example.com.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:
PACKAGE THIEF ON VIDEO: Tweeted by Nick:
— Nick (@Hawk35) January 28, 2019
Police report # is 19-036748.
SUSPECTED PACKAGE THEFT: From Jill:
USPS delivered a package to my house at 15th and Elmgrove at 10:19 a.m. When I arrived home at 6:30 p.m., I couldn’t find it anywhere. It contained a used women’s leather jacket I bought on Poshmark. Long shot, but if anyone sees a Madewell leather jacket (size M) in cabernet listed online, let me know (they don’t make the color any more).
TRESPASSING/BURGLARY/BREAK-IN ATTEMPTS: Ashley forwarded photos from her condo building’s security cameras last Wednesday night/Thursday morning, catching “3 groups of trespassers on our property” overnight, at which time tools were stolen from a work shack on site. Also stolen: An orange work vest branded with the on-site company’s name, Tatley-Grund. Ashley sent screen grabs – see them here, here, here, here, here, and here. Police report # is 19-031061.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When Camp Second Chance became city-sanctioned/funded in 2017, city law stipulated that authorized encampments could only stay at the same time for two years maximum.
Now the encampment on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle is hoping that law will be changed so that it doesn’t have to move when its second sanctioned year expires in March, by which time it will actually have been at 9701 Myers Way S. for more than two and a half years.
Last night, the Highland Park Action Committee convened the second of two community meetings this week in West Seattle devoted to the camp’s future. Monday night, the Westside Interfaith Network – a consortium of local faith-based organizations – rallied camp supporters (WSB coverage here). The HPAC meeting, led by acting chair Gunner Scott, was more a “listening session” to find out where the community wants HPAC to “put its support” regarding the camp’s future.
Several of the encampment-extension supporters who spoke at Monday’s meeting also spoke last night, including three of the people who were with Scott at the table at the head of the room – camp co-founder and resident manager Eric Davis, Cinda Stenger from Alki UCC (and the C2C Community Advisory Committee), and Marty Westerman from the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition. Also at the table was Barbara Dobkin, vice president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, representing the communities neighboring the camp on the county side (White Center and Top Hat). We were able to record this meeting on video:
Here’s how it unfolded (followed by information on what happens next):
We checked with police this moning about a dispatch we heard early today following reports of gunfire seen/heard in Highland Park. SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson checked the resulting report for us and summarizes:
At around 12:35 am, 911 received several calls reporting possible shots being fired near SW Holden St / Highland Park Way SW. A witness was standing on his ground floor balcony and reported hearing a single shot to the west of that location before observing a vehicle traveling east on SW Holden St. The vehicle stopped in the street near the witness and one occupant fired three additional shots into the air before the vehicle left the area heading northbound on Highland Park SW. No victims, property damage, or shell casings were located. An area check was conducted but officers did not locate the vehicle.
“It’s a mythology to think there’s the ‘normal’ and the ‘abnormal’.” So says one of the people you’ll hear from in the feature-length documentary “Crazywise,” directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson. It’s screening at Highland Park Improvement Club this Friday night (January 18th). For $10 at the door, you’re invited to:
7:00 PM: Mix & Mingle (light hors d’oeuvres provided, beverages for purchase)
8:00 PM: Screening of CRAZYWISE
9:30 PM: Discussion & Q&A w/ Director Phil Borges
About the Film:
What if a psychological crisis was seen as having the potential to be a positive transformative experience, instead of a “broken brain”? Human-rights photographer Phil Borges witnessed how indigenous cultures around the world often identify “psychotic” symptoms as an indicator of shamanic potential. Back in the US, Phil follows two young Americans diagnosed with mental illness.
HPIC is at 1116 SW Holden.
(From WSB files, rough concept of proposed Highland Park roundabout)
2:34 PM: Though the city had hopes that the state would say “yes” to funding the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout proposal, the answer’s in, and it’s “no.” After we got a tip from neighborhood advocate Michele Witzki, SDOT’s Jim Curtin confirmed the rejection:
We did not receive funding for the roundabout at Highland Park Way and SW Holden St. We’re reaching out to the granting agency to learn why our project was selected for funding. As we currently understand the situation, the project did not meet collision thresholds that the granting agency was looking for and our local matching funds were insufficient relative to the project cost.
We have briefed Councilmember Herbold’s office on the news and we intend to discuss our options for this project soon. In the meantime, SDOT continues to advance design with existing funds (we have $500K for planning and design) and will continue to pursue funding to enhance this intersection.
We have a message out to the councilmember asking for comment. The roundabout also had previously drawn support for Mayor Jenny Durkan, who said during her Highland Park visit in September that a “Plan B” would be found if the state said no. And the topic came up in our recent conversation with State Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon and Eileen Cody – published here last night – that they might be able to pursue a funding request via legislative action, if the grant application was denied (which now it has been). The city had previously committed some funding, including design dollars discussed a year and a half ago. And SDOT heard about traffic-safety concerns again at a Highland Park meeting just a month ago. The roundabout idea goes back at least six years.
ADDED 5:48 PM: Comment from Councilmember Herbold, in response to our inquiry: “It’s definitely disappointing news. We’ve been told that a combination of a larger local match and reducing the size of the project will make the project more competitive. We’ve got $500,000 of the City of Seattle’s match so far. I’ll be looking at ways to increase what I’ve already got earmarked in the City CIP. I understand that the community may be pursuing a Your Voice Your Choice proposal as well.”
8:51 PM: Seattle Fire has escalated a call near 10th/Kenyon in Highland Park [map] to a “full response” for a possible house fire. Updates to come.
8:54 PM: SFD says it’s a garage fire and that it’s under control.
8:57 PM: Via radio, firefighters say the fire’s out.
9:35 PM: SFD’s investigator has just arrived to look into how the fire started. No injuries reported.
(WSB file photo: Highland Park Way/Holden crash)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Would a “mini-roundabout” be a better way to improve the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection while funding for a full roundabout is awaited?
Or – maybe it would be better than the full roundabout.
That’s what SDOT reps heard when they came to Highland Park this week to listen to concerns about the interim plan for the intersection. But as of week’s end, two days post-meeting, SDOT was still planning to proceed with a modified version of its interim plan, spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth told WSB:
A collision at 16th and Trenton involved a school bus and a car – but no one was seriously hurt, police told us at the scene, and the students have already been transferred to another bus. This photo sent by a tipster shows the bus that was involved and the bus sent for the students.
The scene is not yet fully clear – a tow truck and cleanup crew are still awaited, according to radio communication.
Though the recently approved city budget takes a big step toward the long-sought Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout, it’s still at least a few years off, and the city has planned some interim changes for the increasingly busy intersection. What was announced last month has raised some questions, so SDOT will be in Highland Park this Wednesday for a community discussion/briefing. From Highland Park Action Committee chair Charlie Omana:
In October, the Seattle Department of Transportation informed the Highland Park Action Committee of proposed small changes to the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St to promote safety while we continue to wait for the installation of a roundabout.
Upon further consideration, neighbors determined that some of these small changes would not be beneficial, effectively cutting off access to their homes. In response, SDOT has removed the elements of concern and plans to move forward with the improvements.
Because neither HPAC nor neighbors were consulted in the original development of these plans, SDOT has offered to meet with the community to discuss the changes and listen to neighborhood concerns. This will not be a regular meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, and will be presided over by HPAC’s Vice-Chair, Mr. Gunner Scott. We hope you will be able to attend, but otherwise look forward to your participation at our next full HPAC meeting in January.
The meeting is set to start at 6:30 pm Wednesday (November 28th) at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
Thanks for the tips. Country Deli-Grocery at 7789 Highland Park Way is closing at the end of the month. The property is for sale – both the store and the house behind it; no buyer set but the store is closing anyway. Asking price is $380,000 for the store, $780,000 if you want the house too. Highland Park Way is one of the West Seattle arterials where redevelopment is increasing, and the listing for this property says, “Rare opportunity to develop a mixed rental property – retail shop and apartments above, Neighborhood Commercial zoning (NC 1).”
In the seasonal mood yet? Twelve days to Thanksgiving! And holiday bazaar season has begun! Until 3 pm today, Highland Park Improvement Club is full of local artists/vendors with ideas for your gift list … or maybe for yourself.
Among the sellers, Scouts from Troop 40593, Layla, Nora, Cora, and Lilliaa, with tea wallets and bath bombs:
Among the coolest merchandise – local maps and items made from them:
And if you’re hungry … HPIC has tons of treats. Mike and Christie were at the table with sweet potato pie, cookies, and more.
Plus, ways to show off your Highland Park pride:
HPIC is at 1116 SW Holden.
10:40 AM: Thanks to the person who tipped us about this. A small outage in Highland Park is now on the City Light map, which says 12 customers (in this area, we believe that’s all residences) are affected. No word yet on the cause.
11:57 AM: The cause is now listed as “bird/animal.”
12:19 PM: Last week we reported that this area was experiencing the city’s highest percentage increase in motor-vehicle theft. The trend doesn’t seem to have slowed. Two more reported this morning:
CONTRACTOR’S TRUCK STOLEN: That’s Jackie‘s truck. She says it was stolen in Highland Park, and adds:
My work truck was stolen between Monday evening 8 pm and Tues morning 8 am. I am a general contractor and it has all my tools in it. Black Ford F250 Diesel Lariat Crew cab with gray canopy. Army sticker on back. License B39968F. This truck is my livelihood. I have been a woman owned and operated GC in West Seattle for 20 years.
We asked her if there are any particular tools people should watch out for: “Hilti Roto hammer, Dewalt impact driver set 18v, Makita 12v impact driver, Milwaukee Sawzall, but nothing distinctive just expensive tools.”
RED CIVIC HATCHBACK STOLEN: Kelly sent the photo and report on behalf of her sister:
My sister’s Red Honda Civic EX hatchback, 1994, stolen either last night or early this morning 10/29-10/30 on the corner of SW Graham and 48th Ave SW. (Seaview/Morgan Junction) As you can see in the photo there are a couple of stickers on the rear window and the license plate is #BHL5092. She is recently divorced and homeless and this is all she’s got. We would be forever indebted if someone located this car for her! Thank you in advance.
If you see either stolen vehicle, call 911 immediately. WSB readers have spotted at least two so far already this week; police say stolen cars are most often used to get from point to point and then dumped, so they could be anywhere.
1:52 PM: Jackie just e-mailed to say Seattle Police found her truck.
While Highland Park continues fighting to get the city to build a roundabout at Highland Park Way and Holden, the city has repeatedly mentioned that it can make other, smaller changes to improve safety at the intersection in the meantime. Today, SDOT announced that those changes will be made in the next few weeks. The following letter has been sent to nearby residents, after notification to the Highland Park Action Committee, whose chair Charlie Omana forwarded it to us:
Subject: Highland Park Way and Holden Intersection Improvements
Dear Highland Park residents,
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be making some enhancements to the
intersection of Highland Park Way SW & SW Holden St (see below and graphic). The purpose of these
enhancements is to increase safety and make the intersection more predictable.
The work that SDOT will be doing includes:
• Enlarging the painted triangles in the northwest and southwest quadrants of the intersection
• Extending the southbound right-turning lane and installing advance lane configuration signs and
• Installing yield signs and markings
• Repainting the northbound left-turn arrow markings
• Installing a barrier to prevent eastbound left-turning vehicles from turning into the outside curb
lane of northbound Highland Park Way SW
• Converting SW Austin St to right turn in and right turn out only
We expect to make these changes within the next few weeks, when the weather is dry enough for us to apply paint to the road.
Please note, this work will not preclude a potential future roundabout at this intersection. SDOT has
applied for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) 2018 City Safety Grant for funding the full design and construction of the roundabout. We expect a decision about the grant in
If that grant is not received, Mayor Jenny Durkan promised HPAC last month that the city would come up with a “Plan B” for funding the roundabout.
Thanks to Highland Park Elementary PTA president Laura Olson for the photos and report:
The sun was shining for Highland Park Elementary’s second annual Move-A-Thon! Students wore their own individually tie-dyed spirit wear as they walked, skipped, and ran to the cheers of staff and parents.
A big thanks to our PTA volunteers who made this event possible and our sponsor Rain City West Screen Printing. While this was primarily a fitness celebration, it’s also a fundraiser. If you want to support the HPE PTA in it’s continuing good works, you are welcome to contribute!
Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s visit to the Highland Park Action Committee finally happened last night – 7 months after she accepted the invitation extended by HPAC’s Gunner Scott during her February “town hall” at the Senior Center of West Seattle. We got it all on video – first, the mayor:
And in our second clip, the department heads who accompanied her, mostly to address homelessness-related issues such as the Myers Way east-side cleanup – interim Human Services Director Jason Johnson (a West Seattle resident), HSD’s Navigation Team manager Fred Podesta, as well as Seattle Parks and Recreation leadership, introduced by HPAC chair Charlie Omana:
Other top city staffers were there too, including new Department of Neighborhoods director Andrés Mantilla – a Highland Park resident – Seattle Public Utilities‘ Mami Hara, Parks interim superintendent Christopher Williams, and deputy SDOT director Elliott Helmbrecht.
If you don’t have time to watch the video and weren’t among the ~50 people at the Highland Park Improvement Club for last night’s event, here are the toplines:
She opened by talking about the budget proposal she unveiled on Monday (here’s our coverage, from attending a media briefing at the mayor’s office) and pitching for the Families/Education/Preschool/Promise Levy that’ll go to city voters in November.
Regarding homelessness, she touted her plan for hundreds of additional shelter beds and the need to close “gaps” in regional behavioral-care services. She said the city-sanctioned Camp Second Chance in southeast West Seattle “is being managed well.” And she said the Myers Way east-side cleanup had finished ahead of schedule.
Regarding police and crimefighting, she promised that she and SPD Chief Carmen Best would figure out how to “do better.”
In Q&A with the mayor, local community advocate Pete Spalding opened by mentioning how former Mayor Murray had cut ties with community groups such as neighborhood-district councils and asked Durkan about renewing a commitment to working with community groups. She declared that her presence last night was a “signal to you” that she has made that commitment, and she added that she believes in “community-based government,” that solutions come from communities. “You’ll see me back here,” she promised.
Another neighborhood advocate, Kay Kirkpatrick, brought up the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout that neighbors have long been seeking. Is it in the city budget? Can money from other on-hold projects (such as Fauntleroy Boulevard) be diverted to it? The mayor’s answer (about 19 minutes into the video) was that “it’s clear that a roundabout is the best result” for the intersection, and that the city is planning in expectation that it’ll get a state grant to fund it – but if not, the city will find a “Plan B.” In the meantime, the mayor said they’re looking at “other ways to slow traffic down” there.
Another transportation issue brought up: Bus service to Highland Park, particularly Route 131. (While buses are managed by King County, the city has had an increasing role as it’s “bought” additional service hours on some routes, and more of that is proposed in Durkan’s new budget.)
In crime and safety, a neighbor from the 13th SW area shaken by home-invasion burglaries earlier this year said they still feel the response might have been better in a more-affluent area. “We want to feel safe in the area … and more has to be done for people to feel more trust in the Police Department.” The mayor acknowledged that she was aware of the community’s concerns and said she hopes that they are doing better now. “We know we can do better in parts of the city.” She again mentioned that her budget calls for more officers – 10 more citywide next year, 30 more the year after that, above attrition (though where they’ll be assigned isn’t clear, and the budget shows the Southwest Precinct overall staffing level not changing). Assistant Chief Adrian Diaz also addressed the concerns and mentioned safety/self-defense training to “empower” community members.
And one more question before the mayor left was from a South Delridge resident who spoke of the dozens of derelict/abandoned properties in the area, wondering why it takes so long to get them addressed. The mayor mentioned a South Park property that had been handled but invited the resident to get her more specifics so they could “work on (it).” (A p.s. on that, Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s been working on the issue and is scheduled to talk about it at next week’s Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm October 3rd at the Senior Center of West Seattle.)
We will add notes later this afternoon from the conversation with Human Services Department leaders that followed the mayor’s departure; you can watch the 30-minute video above in the meantime.
Seattle Parks is considering changing the hours at Riverview Playfield (7226 12th SW) in hopes of enabling more police enforcement in response to problems there. Next Thursday, the city Board of Park Commissioners‘ meeting will include a public hearing on changing the hours from 4 am-11:30 pm to 6 am-10 pm. Here’s the rationale as listed in the city briefing paper for Thursday’s meeting:
At this site, there have been continuous complaints about illegal behavior occurring at the park. Drinking and vandalism occur in the evening hours and people congregate at all hours. Neighbors and Parks staff cite four specific reasons for requesting the change in hours:
1) Maintenance workers are burdened with cleaning beer cans, broken glass, and laden trash. The park benches were often found damaged.
2) Tagging is pervasive especially late at night and after the park has closed. At sites with similar issues, changing the closing time to 10:00 p.m. enabled SPD to do a sweep through the park and enforce the closure time.
3) Neighbors frequently call 911 because of the late night activities which often include loud and boisterous behavior, in addition to illegal activity.
4) Community members do not feel safe confronting those who loiter in the park after hours and the earlier closure time enables the police to enforce the rules.
Perhaps the biggest incident in recent years – the 2016 arson that left a new restroom/storage building at the park closed for a year (top photo). The Parks Board hearing is during its regular meeting at Parks HQ downtown next Thursday (September 27th), 6:30 pm, 100 Dexter Ave. N.
A mayoral visit that’s been months in the planning is now one week away – Mayor Jenny Durkan, hosted by the Highland Park Action Committee. You’re invited. HPAC chair Charlie Omana has just sent the agenda for the September 26th event, with word that the city’s Human Services Director will be there too:
6:15 Doors open
6:30 Calling meeting to order
6:35 Guest Speaker – Mayor Jenny Durkan
6:50 – 7:00 Q&A with Mayor
7:10 – Conversation with Randy Wiger, Recreation Program Coordinator, Parks Department, about programming in HP parks
7:30 Guest – Jason Johnson, Interim Director, Department of Human Services: Open conversation about City of Seattle policies on homelessness
8:00 close meeting
After four months as its interim director, Highland Park resident Andrés Mantilla is now officially in charge of the city Department of Neighborhoods, confirmed today by the City Council.
He succeeds Kathy Nyland, who led the department for three years following Bernie Matsuno‘s four-year tenure. Mantilla has worked for the city in a variety of roles for the past decade, detailed here with other info about his background. The announcement of his confirmation quotes him as saying, “I am deeply appreciative of the power that community engagement and inclusive outreach has in building a more equitable Seattle. I look forward to working with community and neighborhood groups as we continue this important work.” (Photo from seattle.gov)
We were reviewing our Nest cam from (Wednesday) night and noted that the car parked in our driveway (which abuts the alleyway) behind 12th Ave SW near Holden was broken into and rifled through. We had 0 things of value in there. We believe the thief probably just came across trash, basically, but … here’s a link to the video clip.
The prowler comes into view at the upper left just before the one minute mark, and goes back off-camera about a minute and a half later.
Not only are cool and/or nostalgic and/or funky finds, priced to sell, available outdoors AND indoors at the Highland Park Improvement Club Giant Yard Sale, the bar is open too. We got one enthusiastic recommendation for the Bloody Marys.
Prefer something non-alcoholic? Outside, there’s a lemonade stand. And more records. And even a bit of golf gear.
We could go on, but really, one person’s treasure is another person’s … you know how it goes. So go see for yourself before 3 pm. HPIC is at 12th and Holden, and you can park down the block at Riverview if you’re not close enough to walk or ride.