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Park protection: Join HPAC at Riverview this Wednesday to discuss options

Almost two years after the city Find It, Fix It Walk in Highland Park, another of the spotlighted issues is being addressed. Here’s the invitation from the Highland Park Action Committee:

Special Meeting With Parks Dept. on Options for Riverview Park: New Barrier/Fence
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Meet at Riverview Park – 12th Ave. SW & SW Webster at 5:30 pm.
Come discuss possible options

During the May 2017 Find-It-Fix-It walk, neighbors and community members raised concerns about the existing logs that served as barriers to the park. Neighbors expressed that the logs were unsightly and not good for the environment.

Parks staff responded that we would look at alternatives. The logs serve an important purpose of keeping folks from driving on to the field and damaging the park.

This Wednesday, we’d love to discuss possible alternative to the existing logs and solicit feedback from the community.

Please come to the Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC) special meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 12th Ave. SW and SW Webster at 5:30 pm. This is the south lot. Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will be there to talk through this upgrade to the park.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, you may email your comments or questions to carol.baker@seattle.gov.

UPDATE: Helicopter, ground search after gunfire in Highland Park

11:45 PM: If you hear the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter over Highland Park/Riverview and/or see police on the ground, here’s what the search is about, per radio dispatch: 911 got reports of possible gunfire, heard near 12th/Holden, followed by a potentially related hit and run, and someone seen running eastbound in an alley south of Holden. Guardian One heard the dispatch and offered to help. No injuries reported.

11:57 PM: Though the helicopter has moved on for now, police are blocking part of SW Holden as they investigate.

12:05 AM: A texter sent this photo:

12:10 PM: Police are reopening SW Holden.

Crime ‘too close to home’ takes centerstage @ Highland Park Action Committee

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Crime concerns sparked a bigger turnout than usual at this month’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, including some who identified themselves in around-the-room intros as first-time attendees, some from South Delridge and White Center, as well as HP residents.

Q&A WITH POLICE: Southwest Precinct operations commander Lt. Steve Strand briefed the group. Since the year’s start, HP is down double digits in many categories, but property crimes – primarily thefts and burglaries – are up. He said recent arrests included burglary suspects who might be linked to multiple crimes, including a carjacking at the 35th/Barton 7-11. He reminded attendees that SPD can’t see walled social media (but can see WSB) so please don’t just report crimes/suspicions on social media – call it in! Westwood Village will be one of this summer’s big emphasis points, “mostly due to the property crimes they have” especially shoplifting. They also, as weather warms, plan emphasis patrols in places where people gather, from Alki to Highland Park.

HPAC chair Gunner Scott asked about police staffing for the precinct. “Down a handful,” replied Lt. Strand.

What kind of cooperation between city and county law enforcement? Depends on the incident, he said – for example, both were involved after the shooting on 16th SW on Monday. Detectives on both sides of the line will often share information in case they’re both working similar cases, he added. Another attendee asked about South Delridge shooting cases, including that Monday incident.

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Camp Second Chance can stay on Myers Way Parcels at least six more months, city says

(WSB photo of Camp Second Chance entrance, December 2017)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Camp Second Chance, the only city-sanctioned encampment in West Seattle, is getting a six-month extension.

The camp on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle [map] is at the end of the two-years-maximum stay that’s currently allowed under city law – and has actually been at the site going on three years. It first occupied the location without authorization starting in July 2016, gaining the authorization in spring 2017. A decision on its fate has been long expected and was just announced this morning by the city Human Services Department, which also gave six-month extensions to two other sanctioned encampments in other parts of the city. From the announcement:

Camp Second Chance, Georgetown Village, and Othello Village will be temporarily re-permitted for an additional six months. During this time, the City will develop a long-term strategy for these sites with community input that will serve residents of villages and the surrounding community.

Homelessness remains a crisis in Seattle and the City’s responsibility is to provide services and shelter resources that are effective in helping people transition from homelessness to housing — tiny house villages have proven to be one solution within the City’s overall response. In 2018, villages City-wide served 658 unique households and exited 135 households to permanent housing, an increase of 32 percent from 2017.

“Tiny-house villages” is the term the city now uses for its sanctioned encampments. As we’ve reported previously, donations have funded tiny houses for most of Camp Second Chance’s residents. The camp usually reports about 50 residents at any given time, when those reports are delivered at the monthly meetings of its volunteer Community Advisory Committee, which we routinely cover.

The camp is self-managed, with a no-drugs/alcohol policy, and the city contract to operate it is held by the Low-Income Housing Institute, which pays for staff including an on-site director (currently camp co-founder Eric Davis and case manager Richard Horne).

Also from today’s city announcement:

The City’s decision grants monthly temporary-use permits to these sites for the next six months. During this time, the City will develop a long-term strategy for these specific villages, considering all options for the future of these programs and sites. In order to develop these strategies, the City will work with communities to organize meetings in neighborhoods hosting villages to learn more about how the City can be responsive to community needs and how to best serve residents of the villages.

Last year’s decision to extend the permit for a second year was preceded by city-convened meetings, but there haven’t been any this time. In January, we covered two community meetings on the topic (both with city reps in attendance) – the Westside Interfaith Network gathering camp supporters at a meeting in Fauntleroy and the Highland Park Action Committee holding a “listening session” to decide on whether to support extending the camp’s stay. (Ultimately, as we reported March 4th, HPAC opposed it.)

The city’s explanation also includes:

The City has also learned that siting, developing, and relocating tiny house villages remains an ongoing challenge given property logistics, costs, and program needs of serving people experiencing homelessness. The City has also learned that providing 24/7, enhanced shelter is one of the best solutions to help people off Seattle’s streets and into safer living situations.

The extension of these villages does not impact the status of the other six City-funded villages.

Camp Second Chance’s status was already scheduled to be discussed at HPAC’s regular monthly meeting tonight (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden). The city’s homelessness-response spokesperson Will Lemke told WSB that the six-month extension would run to September, though the second-year extension wasn’t formally announced last year until June.

ADDED 10:35 AM: The full city announcement, which we originally received via email (as we have long been inquiring about the timetable/process for the decision), is now posted on the city website.

West Seattle weekend scene: ‘All My Children, All My Relatives’ gather for annual Pow Wow @ Highland Park Elementary

Our video shows the “grand entrance” that was a highlight of last night’s sixth annual Niksokowaaks (“All My Children, All My Relatives”) Pow Wow at Highland Park Elementary.

As announced by organizers, the Head Man and Head Woman were nine-year-old jingle dancer Bria Calhoun (Chumash, Esselen-Rumsen) and ten-year-old chicken dancer Weston Sam (Upper Skagit, Blackfeet). The Pow Wow is for all ages, but organizers “saw a need in the community to help support the Native youth,” especially “Native foster children or ‘urban’ Native children” who are growing up “not knowing their culture or feeling the need to connect further with it. This Pow Wow allows them to dance, sing and further connect with the Native traditions.”

The celebration continued into the night. Missed it? Watch for next year’s announcement!

YOU’RE INVITED: 6th annual Niksokowaaks Pow Wow in Highland Park

Everyone’s invited Friday (March 22nd) to Highland Park Elementary for the sixth annual community Niksokowaaks Pow Wow! Here’s the announcement sent by Asha:

This is a free public event, all are welcome. Grand entry will be at 7 pm. There will be food and craft vendors.

This Pow Wow began when we saw a need in the community to help support the Native youth. Many children in our area are Native foster children or “urban” Native children. Many of them not knowing their culture or feeling the need to connect further with it. This Pow Wow allows them to dance, sing and further connect with the Native traditions. It also brings our community together to share in this celebration!

Date: Friday, March 22nd
Time: 6-10 pm
Location: Highland Park Elementary
1012 SW Trenton

Head dancers: This year we are honored to be represented by nine-year-old jingle dancer Bria Calhoun (Chumash, Esselen-Rumsen) and ten-year-old chicken dancer Weston Sam (Upper Skagit, Blackfeet).

The name Niksokowaaks was given to this pow wow by Blackfeet elder Myna “Molly” Bullshoe six years ago. It means all my children, all my relatives.

The event flyer, shown above, is also available in PDF, here.

UPDATE: Power outage affecting 2,400+ customers – mostly in Highland Park, South Park

11:43 AM: Thanks for the tips. This has just appeared on the Seattle City Light outage map – more than 2,400 customers affected by an outage in the Highland Park area. Meantime, SFD is responding to a call at 1st Avenue S. and Cloverdale described as possibly involving a transformer. Updates to come.

11:49 AM: Added the outage map – note that it also includes part of South Park. Meantime, per radio communication, SFD is still investigating the incident to which Engine 11 was dispatched.

12:05 PM: As noted in comments, and if you zoom in on the map, the outage includes Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and a small pocket around it.

12:38 PM: Also noted in comments, the main outage zone includes Highland Park Elementary. Meantime, SFD has closed out the aforementioned call. And SCL has estimated a restoration time of 3 pm – but as always, we caution that those are really just guesses and it could be much sooner – or much later.

12:59 PM: HP Elementary wants to be sure parents know that the phones aren’t working because of the outage. Still no word on its cause – if you see City Light crews in your vicinity, let us know (206-293-6302 is our hotline, text or voice).

1:47 PM: About 500 customers – including HP Elementary – have been restored, per the outage map. We’re still seeking info from SCL about the cause.

2:21 PM: Another ~400 are connected again.

3:55 PM: 1,500 customers still out after 4 hours. No new restoration estimate – nor cause – from SCL yet.

4:51 PM: As noted in comments, SCL has posted this update via Twitter: “Crews are still looking for the primary cause of these outages. It’s a process of visually inspecting overhead lines, so please bear with us as the work is done. New estimated time of restoration: 6 PM.”

5:03 PM: A slightly more detailed version of that update, via email from SCL spokesperson Julie Moore: “Crews are still investigating to determine the primary cause. They are working through what we call a step restoration – a process of visually inspecting overhead lines and restoring sections as they go along. The number of affected customers is now down to about 1,000.”

5:54 PM: 6+ hours after this outage began, City Light just tweeted, “Power has been restored to all but one customer affected by the West Seattle/Highland Park/South Park outage. Thank you for your patience, everyone!” (If you are still out, be sure to let SCL know – 206-684-3000.)

West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 cars damaged by 1 hit-and-run driver

That’s some of the damage done by a hit-and-run driver in Highland Park. The photos and report are from Eric:

My car and 2 others were hit between 5 pm and 9 pm Saturday night on 9th Ave SW just south of Kenyon. Our car was the middle one, the Toyota Highlander. Still having trouble grasping how they hit the three cars how they did. Looks like there is white paint rubbed off on our car. Hit the red car first and somehow popped both tires. Then hit our car hard enough to push it up on the curb. Then the back corner of the Lexus.

Police incident # is 2019-068679.

COUNTDOWN! Highland Park Elementary PTA invites you to celebrate

Just two weeks until the Highland Park Elementary School PTA hopes to see you at its 2nd annual auction – a good deal for a good cause, $40 gets you food (including dessert) on Saturday, March 2nd, with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme:

Your grin will rival the Cheshire Cat’s after scrumptious nibbles and games that may make you lose your head! Don’t be afraid to go a little mad bidding for items to raise vital funds so students can continue to get curiouser and curiouser!

Buy your ticket(s) here. The even is set for 6-9 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Police investigate reported gunfire

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.

FOLLOWUP: Highland Park Action Committee’s community survey on Camp Second Chance permit extension

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 homelessness@seattle.gov.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Packages, and tools, taken

Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:

PACKAGE THIEF ON VIDEO: Tweeted by Nick:

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.

Would extending encampment’s stay be a broken promise, or ‘unique opportunity’? Here’s how Highland Park Action Committee’s ‘listening session’ went

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):

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Highland Park gunfire investigation

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.

SCREENING: ‘Crazywise’ at Highland Park Improvement Club on Friday

January 16, 2019 10:40 pm
|    Comments Off on SCREENING: ‘Crazywise’ at Highland Park Improvement Club on Friday
 |   Health | Highland Park | West Seattle news

“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.

FOLLOWUP: State says no, again, to Highland Park roundabout funding

(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 Codypublished 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.”

UPDATE: Garage fire in Highland Park, quickly extinguished

(Photo courtesy Kay Kirkpatrick)

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.

Highland Park talks traffic trouble as SDOT’s pre-roundabout plan approaches

(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:

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School bus/car collision in Highland Park, no serious injuries reported

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.

Highland Park Way/Holden safety changes, pre-roundabout: Talk with SDOT on Wednesday

November 25, 2018 10:30 am
|    Comments Off on Highland Park Way/Holden safety changes, pre-roundabout: Talk with SDOT on Wednesday
 |   Highland Park | Safety | Transportation | West Seattle news

(Original SDOT plan announced in October)

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).

BIZNOTE: Another West Seattle corner store closing

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).”

PHOTOS: Highland Park Improvement Club Holiday Bazaar starts the season

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.

West Seattle power outage: 12 customers in Highland Park

November 7, 2018 10:40 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle power outage: 12 customers in Highland Park
 |   Highland Park | Utilities | West Seattle news

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.”