West Seattle, Washington
11:52 AM: Thanks for the tip – a two-car crash is blocking the uphill (southbound) lanes on Highland Park Way. No word of injuries so far.
1:01 PM: Information on this one has been hard to come by; a commenter says downhill is blocked, uphill is getting through. Snippets of radio exchanges suggest that tow trucks are now on scene.
1:12 PM: Lanes have reopened, officers just told dispatch.
Remember those goats and other art under the bridge in 2017? Those were “art interruptions,” temporary installations as part of a city program. Next round is in the works, as this week the city announced the artists chosen to create some along one of West Seattle’s greenways:
The Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation has commissioned four emerging public artists to create temporary art installations along the Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway for Art Interruptions 2022. The artworks will be installed on city-owned infrastructure and offer passers-by a brief interruption in their day through moments of surprise, beauty, contemplation, or humor.
The artists selected are:
Look for the latest artworks in Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway summer of 2022! Artists were selected by a panel of artists, community members, and city staff. Art Interruptions is an ongoing program funded by the SDOT 1% for Arts Fund.
You can find a map of the greenway here.
You have a little over an hour to get over to Highland Park Elementary and shop the PTA’s giant rummage sale! Thanks to the texter who sent the photo from the early going. It’s a “give and take” sale – donations were welcomed in the early going, and visitors are advised to “take what you need.” The school is at 1012 SW Trenton, and the sale continues until 2 pm.
Volunteers of all ages started the weekend with Earth Day cleanups at various West Seattle sites. We stopped by one of them, Highland Park Elementary, where the HPE PTA has a lot going on. Volunteers are also working on a new Little Free Library at 11th/Cloverdale:
And they’re getting ready for a community playground-building day at HPE in July:
But first – a “give what you can, take what you need” rummage sale is planned next Saturday (April 30th), 10 am-2 pm. Not only are you invited to come shop at the sale, you’re also invited to donate if you have good-condition items you don’t need. Dropoffs will be accepted 9-10 am that day; here’s what they’re looking for. At the sale, everything will be offered free – monetary donations accepted.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The roughed-out redesign of the Highland Park Improvement Club building would have the same footprint, but a different look and feel inside.
Sketches for the redesign were unveiled during HPIC’s fourth Town Hall about rebuilding, a project made necessary because of the major damage done by last June’s fire. HPIC’s Kay Kirkpatrick opened the online event Wednesday night by saying they’re working on a fundraising plan and hoping they can keep the cost lower by staying within the existing footprint and reusing the foundation.
Architect Matt Wittman of Wittman Estes presented the schematic design options. His presentation summarized nine key themes they’d heard from the community in previous discussions, and how they had responded to those themes.
The photo and report are from Carl:
Our family discovered two child-sized mountain bikes left behind in the alleyway [in Highland Park]. The larger one is a red Dynacraft with a wipe out shield in front. The smaller one is blue and has a license plate that says “2cool4u.”
If one or both are yours, email us – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll connect you.
Nine months after fire ravaged the Highland Park Improvement Club‘s building at 12th/Holden, it’s time for the next step toward rebuilding. You’re invited to the fourth Town Hall, online this Wednesday, as announced:
A schematic design for HPIC
At our fourth Virtual Town Hall, Architect Matt Wittman and his team will present schematic drawings for the rebuilding of HPIC. We thank all who have participated in helping us and the architectural team to envision the reborn HPIC, and we ask for your input again on this important step towards creating the HPIC that will rise from the ashes!
Wednesday, April 6
Please note the Town Hall begins at 6 pm – the Architect will be present from 6 to 7:30 pm and the call will continue beyond, if needed, to accommodate further questions and comments.
Scroll to the bottom of HPIC’s home page for the attendance link.
One year ago, Meaghan Haas had just opened Highland Park Corner Store in the renovated ex-mini-mart at 7789 Highland Park Way SW. With all the challenges that businesses faced during the pandemic, she nonetheless plunged ahead and started something new, and now it’s time to mark the milestone of making it through year one. The store’s already become a place for community celebrations, and this time it’s about HPCS itself – you’re invited to “just show up” Saturday afternoon (April 2nd), 1-4 pm, for festivities including cake, games, a piñata (around 3 pm), and more.
Nine years after the city declared the old substation site at 16th/Holden as surplus, its fate remains unsettled.
Last night, it was a major topic at the March meeting of HPAC, the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge.
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and representatives from two affordable-homeownership nonprofits, Homestead Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity, were there to talk about the site’s possibilities – almost half a year after a similar discussion at HPAC involving Herbold and a different nonprofit (WSB coverage here).
Seattle City Light is still willing to basically give away the property, Herbold said, but, as was explained in October, it has to be for a “public benefit.” Affordable homeownership would qualify. Both organizations at the meeting said their clients are people earning no more than 80 percent of the “area mean income.” Homestead said it’s working with a similar ex-substation site on a 5-story building in North Seattle with five stories of affordable condos over ground-floor commercial, something like this:
One mini-bulletin from tonight’s HPAC meeting, just wrapping up – SDOT has canceled the plan to reconfigure the 16th/Austin intersection. We reported on it three weeks ago after a reader tip. SDOT’s Sara Zora indicated at tonight’s meeting that they got a lot of feedback, and after their traffic-operations team re-examined the plan, they decided to shelve it. They’ll “continue to monitor” the intersection for collisions or other problems. (Our report on the rest of the HPAC meeting will be published tomorrow.)
If you live/work/study in Highland Park, South Delridge, or Riverview, your community council, HPAC, meets at 7 pm Wednesday, online. Two major agenda items:
This month HPAC welcomes back SDOT staff with updates on Home Zone and Greenways work that has been progressing throughout the neighborhood. If you have followup questions regarding projects, or ideas for new protections needed to buffer any changes you have noted in the West Seattle Bridge Detour Route traffic, agency representatives will be on hand to speak with.
We also welcome back City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and team for further updates on planning for the proposed low-income housing at 16th SW and SW Holden, site of a former Seattle City Light substation. They have been working on clarifying concerns expressed by the community at their last visit.
All are welcome – go here to get information for watching/listening/participating.
The coterie of artists and poets who have been creating signboard art installations along SW Holden by Highland Park Improvement Club [map] have done it again. They welcomed spring this morning by placing newly painted boards voicing hope – with the flip sides spelling HPIC via bird portraits:
The bird portraits were inspired by David Allen Sibley‘s book “What It’s Like to Be a Bird.” The creators are, from left below, Monica Cavagnaro (lead painter), Judith Camann (poet), Kay Kirkpatrick (themes), and Kelly Lyles (fonts):
Kirkpatrick says, “We just want people to have a good time while sitting in traffic.” The “hope” expressed by the boards this time has multiple meanings – including hope that the West Seattle Bridge will indeed reopen this year, removing some of the detour traffic that’s filled Holden, and hope of a rebirth for the fire-gutted HPIC building. (Next meeting about the rebuilding project is April 6th – watch HPIC’s website for details on that, as well as for word of a community cleanup on the citywide Day of Service April 23rd.)
P.S. It’s been more than a year and a half since the first HPIC streetside-art boards!
When Seattle Parks announced on Monday that the Westcrest Park play-area replacement is planned for construction this summer, we noted we would be checking on progress of the project under way at the park now, drainage improvements at the Off-Leash Area. We’ve now heard back from Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor, who says, “Construction is 85% complete with drainage infrastructure, grading, and gravel surfacing. We need to complete fencing, asphalt, and concrete paving. The concrete strike is impacting the project delivery. We are hoping to open the OLA in late spring if the strike settles.” Work began in November; a temporary OLA is open until the permanent one is ready for use again. (P.S. No strike updates yet this week – the Teamsters’ latest statements are here; the companies’ latest statements are here.)
One of West Seattle’s long-closed park play structures has a new date for replacement. Seattle Parks closed the Westcrest Park play structure in May of last year for safety concerns and said it would be replaced as part of the drainage-improvement project at the park’s off-leash area. That work has been under way for months now, but no word of the play area’s status until today, when the city announced the work would happen “this summer” and be complete “this fall.”
P.S. Before you ask – yes, we’re asking about the status of the Westcrest drainage project and also asking about the longest-closed park play area in West Seattle, the Lincoln Park South Play Area, closed for almost five years, with the newest online update saying the much-delayed replacement is now scheduled to go to bid “in late spring.”
ORIGINAL THURSDAY NIGHT REPORT: A resident along 16th SW near SW Othello texted us to say they heard “gunshots … about 6 or 10 in a row, super loud” a short time ago. Police are in the area now and have just told dispatch that they’ve located a casing. No word of any injuries so far.
ADDED FRIDAY: SPD’s preliminary incident summary says no witnesses could be found, just “broken glass from a vehicle and evidence of a shooting were recovered from the street in the 7300 block of 16 Ave SW.”
Maybe you’ve noticed the new, roughed-in lane markings on 16th SW near SW Austin and SW Holden [map]; Jimmy did, and emailed us about it:
We just drove south on 16th to go to the 1st Ave Bridge and when you drive up to 16th and Austin (intersection right before left turn to Holden) noticed some new lane markings in the southbound lanes. This divides up the road right before the light with the left side going straight and the right side right turn only. Previously everyone had been lane-splitting there anyway and used the right side for going straight as well, as to continue south on 16th, as the left-turn line onto Holden is almost always backed up. Additionally, on 16th just south of Austin there are white lane markings to indicate no one should be in the right side there.
We asked SDOT about it; here’s the explanation:
We do have a traffic improvement scheduled for that location. The layout marks were put down on Friday in advance of the permanent paint line striping.
The reason for this intersection project is to simplify the operations for SB traffic and address some complaints that we’ve received about drivers changing lanes just south of the 16th and Austin intersection. Southbound drivers trying to get around the tail end of the southbound left turn queue to Holden inadvertently change lanes. They change lanes without awareness that there is a second SB lane that they are cutting off.
No date set yet for the permanent restriping – it’s weather-dependent.
One big topic at this past week’s monthly HPAC meeting – the plan for another giant storage tank in West Seattle to contain combined-sewer overflows.
HPAC is the community coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge; co-chair Kay Kirkpatrick facilitated the online meeting on Wednesday night.
WEST DUWAMISH CSO CONTROL PROJECT: We mentioned this project three weeks ago, while commenting time was open for its environmental checklist. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division sent reps to the HPAC meeting to present a briefing on the plan. Project manager Maud De Bel led the presentation, calling the West Duwamish Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project‘s central feature “similar to the Murray (Wet Weather) Facility” across from Lowman Beach Park. She offered a quick refresher course on combined sewers – stormwater running off streets and roofs, going into the sewer system – “there’s a point where the sewer gets overwhelmed,” so to prevent floods and backups, the system overflows into bodies of water like Puget Sound or the Duwamish River. The county has controlled “most of those” but this project is meant to address two areas of eastern West Seattle where uncontrolled overflows go into the river several times each year.
We reported earlier this month on the 1.25-million-gallon storage tank planned in southeast West Seattle to reduce combined-sewer overflows into the Duwamish River. At its monthly meeting this Wednesday, HPAC – the neighborhood coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – gets a briefing. Here’s the meeting preview, which includes other topics:
We will be hearing from representative of the King County Wastewater Treatment Division to learn more about the upcoming West Duwamish CSO Control project set to begin soon. If you are unfamiliar with these projects, have a look at the construction at 4th South and South Michigan Street, where they are almost done with a huge holding facility. The SW Michigan site will be much smaller, but serve a similar purpose, capturing and holding excess rain runoff from Highland Park, preventing contamination of the Duwamish River during big storms.
If you attended last month’s meeting, SPD mentioned their annual report on crime trends. They will be at our meeting too for any questions or concerns, Westwood Village area ranked 4th in volume citywide in community-generated 911 calls.
Also up in the HPAC business category:
-Planning for Spring Cleanup events – sites you think need to be addressed, dates, etc.
-Helping with a Flip Your Trip outreach event? – mask mandates are lifting and traffic will be ramping up, can we help try and get more folks out of their Single Occupancy Vehicles?
-A look back at our area’s five years of hosting Camp Second Chance – what’s working? Any outstanding concerns? Do we have any guidance or response to State Sen. Joe Nguyen’s bill now in the State Senate regarding lifting SEPA requirements for new camps?
-Inviting any interested parties to help out on eBoard positions – we are an all volunteer advocacy group and rely on community energy!
HPAC will meet online at 7 pm Wednesday (February 23rd) – connection info is here.
When we reported last week on the arrest of 26-year-old Joseph Depaco after a police search in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, we noted that court records revealed he had just been sentenced in another case. Tonight we have word of a charge filed in last week’s incident, plus an explanation of why he hadn’t begun serving the alternative sentence he got for the other case. (At left is a photo of Depaco we obtained from the state Corrections Department.)
The new charge filed by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is possession of a stolen vehicle, a felony. The vehicle in which police say they found Depaco in the greenbelt was a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup. A passerby reported it as suspicious, and responding officers say that after they found Depaco asleep in the vehicle, he woke up and bolted, which led to a ground and air search that resulted in his arrest. (He is not charged in connection with the under-construction gun found in the vehicle.)
We had asked the KCPAO for more background on why Depaco wasn’t already in the residential drug-treatment program to which he was sentenced as part of a three-case plea bargain February 4th. He was supposed to enter the program within a few days, they explain, but after the sentencing, the treatment provider canceled the original date and said it would not have a bed available until today. Depaco had been out of jail since January 7th, which the KCPAO says was his original sentencing date, and that’s why the new charge was filed today with an “aggravating factor” of “rapid recidivism.” That could lengthen the sentence if he’s convicted. Tonight Depaco – who already has seven felony convictions – remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail and is due next for arraignment on the new charge February 28th.
Thanks to Margaret for the tip. She got a postal-mail flyer from Seattle Public Utilities about work coming up on 8th SW just north of SW Roxbury and thought you should know, given the increased traffic through that area because of bridge detouring. We asked SPU about it, and they sent the flyer, which says the work will repair a sewer line on 8th between Roxbury and Cambridge. Work could start as soon as next Monday (February 21st) and could last up to three weeks. Lane closures and parking restrictions are part of the plan, which says general work hours will be 7 am-4 pm weekdays.
9:44 AM: Thanks to the multiple readers in Highland Park who have sent word of this – an Xfinity/Comcast service outage that the company says is affecting more than 2,500 customers. Let us know if it’s affecting you in other areas; we’re checking with the company.
ADDED MONDAY EVENING: We dead-ended while looking for a Comcast contact earlier but a regional spokesperson emailed us tonight to say: “We experienced an interruption today at 8:03 a.m. with our internet service in Highland Park. Our engineers began working to address the issue immediately and as of 8:44 a.m., service was restored. We apologize to those who were affected.”
4:31 PM: Thanks to everyone who asked about the helicopter search in Highland Park. Guardian One was assisting Seattle Police with a search. We don’t know yet what incident it’s linked to, but we do know they just took someone into custody in the greenbelt over Highland Park Way/Riverview Playfield. More details when we get them.
5:09 PM: No official info from police yet, and we couldn’t find officers on the ground, but scanner traffic and another reader tip indicates it was related to a stolen car.
6:05 PM: Guardian One confirms via Twitter that the search was for a driver who fled a stolen car.
7:54 PM: Even more details, and a photo, from SPD:
Just after 3:00 p.m., a parkgoer reported a man asleep in a red pickup truck parked on a foot path in the greenbelt area of Riverview Park. When responding officers contacted the man, he fled on foot into the woods. Police quickly discovered the truck had been registered stolen earlier this week in North Seattle, and spotted a rifle in the back seat.
With the help of King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One, SPD officers on the ground found the suspect hiding in the greenbelt and arrested him.
Police transported the 26-year-old man to King County Jail to book him for possession of a stolen car and unlawful possession of a firearm. It appears part of the rifle was still being constructed. Nevertheless, the suspect is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms. However, during the booking process at KCJ, the suspect deliberately punched a concrete pillar, causing injuries which required treatment at Harborview Medical Center. Officers plan to book the man into jail when he is medically cleared at the hospital.
2:04 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to a possible fire in the 8100 block of 15th SW [map]. First crew to arrive reports “light smoke.” Updates to come.
2:07 PM: Turned out to be another small fire, already out, and the response is being downsized.