West Seattle, Washington
September means community groups are back on their meeting schedules again, with most still meeting online. Last Thursday night, three topics were in the spotlight as the Alki Community Council resumed its third-Thursday schedule:
POLICE STAFFING: That made up most of what the ACC heard from Southwest Precinct Lt. David Terry. As he’s said in past briefings, they’re understaffed – minimum number of officers at night is supposed to be 9, and that night (Thursday) they were down to 7 – SPD offers OT for officers interested in filling the gap, but more and more are saying no. “So we’re running the shift with shorter numbers, which is crazy” – this weekend they faced the possibility of being down to 6 or 7 on a shift. Lt. Terry summarized, “We’re out of bodies.” In response to an attendee’s questions, Lt. Terry acknowledged that they sometimes have even fewer in West Seattle/South Park because they have to lend officers to a “task force” callout elsewhere in the city, and when that happens – these days, mostly for nightlife safety – the SW Precinct may be down to “4 or 5 officers for 17 square miles.” Attendees mentioned they are disappointed that Seattle Parks returned to regular closing time at Alki this week and asked what SPD thinks about it. Lt. Terry said he couldn’t offer an opinion, just the observation that it would most likely mean “more calls for service.” As for Alki police responses over the summer – there was a “small spike” in June and July but a drop in August. “You’re still the second safest area in all of West Seattle” (after Fauntleroy), he noted.
FRIENDS OF ALKI NEIGHBORHOODS: Quality-of-life concerns – crime among them – have given rise to this new group, FANS for short. Reps formally introduced themselves at the ACC meeting with a presentation. Here’s the new group’s purpose:
“We want to voice our interest as one connected neighborhood … we’re all experiencing the same thing,” said Mollie Means, who led the presentation. What they all have in common: Proximity to Alki Beach Park. Means estimates that 24,000 people comprise the Alki neighborhoods. They’re putting together a survey to identify the key issues they want the city to address. “We want to gather data to support strategic initiatives.” They hope that will lead to change that enhances the experience of residents and visitors alike. This past summer was problematic in multiple ways, she said – first “car caravans” visiting, then the chaotic “kickback” crowd in May, then the June quadruple shooting that left one man dead. “What was really effective is that (after that) Police and Parks worked together to ‘tweak” the way things work at the beach.
Pending survey results, here’s some of what FANS hopes to advocate for:
HPAC – the community organization for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – resumes monthly meetings this week with hot topics including traffic and crime. Here’s the announcement:
We welcome all back for our first meeting of the 2021-22 season. This month we’ll be hearing from Seattle Police Department with neighborhood crime trends, plus the Port of Seattle sharing impacts we can expect to neighborhood traffic as Terminal 5 reopens in January 2022.
Finally, we will be hosting Home Zone and Reconnect West Seattle team members from SDOT for a report out on the projects they are working on. There have been some changes in direction, particularly for residents on 16th Avenue SW, we’ll have them explained at the meeting with opportunities for suggestions and comments.
If you are noticing new detour route incursions of vehicles, or other traffic pattern changes to report, your voice is needed!
See you at 7 PM on Sept. 22 – virtually on Zoom during the HPIC rebuilding process.
Happening tomorrow! Just received the announcement from Samuel:
He says they’re planning to “have four grills going”! Here’s a map.
MONDAY UPDATE: Setup photos just in from Samuel – here’s the raffle table:
And those grills:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The District 1 Community Network gathered online Wednesday to share updates and hear about public safety, environmental advocacy, and transportation issues.
Rather than having the same person run every meeting, D1CN rotates – Cindi Barker from the Emergency Communication Hubs facilitated this meeting.
LEAD: This was a continuation of D1CN’s series of spotlights on community-safety alternatives. Aaron Burkhalter and Sam Wolff were there to talk about this evolving program. The new meaning of the acronym – Let Everyone Advance with Dignity – was explained.
Public safety, community service, and transportation topics are on the agenda for the District 1 Community Network‘s next meeting, 7 pm online Wednesday (September 1st). D1CN’s mission is “to unite and strengthen the District 1 [West Seattle/South Park] community for the benefit of all.” You’ll learn about the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion/Let Everyone Advance with Dignity) role in public safety, about the community services provided by the West Seattle/White Center Salvation Army, about the Fauntleroy Community Associationn=’s advocacy in Washington State Ferries‘ plan to replace its West Seattle terminal, and about the Heron’s Nest project. All are welcome; information on attending via videoconference or phone is in our calendar listing.
That’s the aerial view of a – distanced! – neighborhood celebration this past weekend on Pigeon Point. Robert Shampain sent the video, report, and photos:
On Sunday, August 22, The Pigeon Point Neighborhood of West Seattle (just south of our Once-and-Future West Seattle Bridge) hosted the “Pigeon Point Back-Together-In-Person Get-together” near Pathfinder K-8 School. It was sponsored by a Small Sparks Grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, along with several local businesses, and it was a huge success!
Over 200 people attended during the afternoon, and enjoyed free tacos from West Seattle’s own El Chapulin Oaxaqueño taco truck along with lots of other food and drink, wonderful music by 5 local resident professionals (Brian Cutler, Nick Droz, Scott Herman, Ellaina Lewis, and Gabi Montoya), and presentations by the Duwamish Tribe’s Ken Workman, the new Pathfinder K-8 Principal and Vice Principal, the “Ridge-to- River” and West Duwamish Greenbelt trails project, PREP (Puget Ridge Edible Park), and DNDA (Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association).
There were a lot of kids-and-family events, like “Nature Art” with the Nature Consortium’s Jules Hepp and Jen Paur of “Tiny Science,” who brought all sorts of wonderful insects and information on bugs to share. Cindi Barker from the West Seattle Emergency Hubs had an information booth, as did the West Seattle SkyLink project, who had asked to attend. It really was an amazing afternoon. And best of all, neighbors all pitched in to clean up so well at the end, you couldn’t even tell how much fun had been had!
Though National Night Out is usually on the first Tuesday in August (here’s our coverage from last night), some have chosen other nights for parties. That includes Westwood Village, which is teaming with Seattle Police for a Night Out event one week from tomorrow, 6-8 pm Thursday, August 12th. From the WWV announcement:
To promote police-community partnerships, members of the Seattle Police Department will distribute free giveaways to event attendees during Westwood Village’s National Night Out event, held on the north side of the shopping center in the parking lot near Bed Bath & Beyond. There will also be a live DJ and activities for children, including a face painter, balloon twister, and a kids chalk area where children can make their very own chalk masterpieces. This event is free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.
The center is at 2600 SW Barton.
7:11 PM: It’s Night Out, back after a pandemic break. Biggest party in West Seattle – at least in terms of ground covered! – is in The Junction, where 20+ artists/performers are putting on mini-shows along the sidewalks. We’re just back:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 4, 2021
The Graveyard Girls outside Carmilia’s (including shop proprietor Linda Sabee):
Naby Camara at KeyBank Plaza (Junction has 20+ performers tonight) pic.twitter.com/niFvgZ4IZM
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 4, 2021
Juggler Sam David by WS Optix pic.twitter.com/gDKOIOP1C3
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 4, 2021
The Southwest Precinct represented in The Junction too – from left, Lt. James Sather, Lt. Dorothy Kim, Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner, and precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman:
The Junction invites you to visit until 9 pm (some food/drink venues are having specials, and some, of course, are open later than 9). More coverage to come! (And if you’re having a party, send a pic!)
7:52 PM: Thunder! Stay safe if you’ve been outside.
10 PM: More photos! Thanks to Connie for this photo from the 8800 block of 17th SW in Highland Park:
Next, a block party on SW Frontenac in Gatewood:
Kim sent a photo from her block party at 34th/Morgan in High Point:
From Westbridge Place, where everybody ducked under the canopy when the rain hit, and: “We all got to meet our newest neighbors (Paul & Brittney) who put on a smoked brisket”:
From Leslie at 20th/Thistle:
And here’s our neighborhood’s gathering in Upper Fauntleroy:
ADDED WEDNESDAY: A few more photos have come in – first, from Fiona in the 5200 block of 44th SW:
From Jason at 36th/Hinds:
Thanks again for the pics – we hope to get back next year to criss-crossing the peninsula stopping at many parties as in years past.
One week from tonight, it’s the return of Night Out. If you won’t be busy with a block/building party. the West Seattle Junction Association invites you to come spend the evening in “downtown West Seattle.” 6 pm-9 pm next Tuesday (August 3rd), The Junction welcomes you to a special evening, with food and drink specials among other things. (Look for a list here when it gets closer.) You’re also welcome to add to the festivities: “We welcome performances with instruments and tools ranging from acoustic instruments, performance art, odd instruments, puppets, bubbles to magicians.” (Sign up here!) P.S. No street closure planned in The Junction – on Night Out, that’s reserved for non-arterials.
This Wednesday, a City Council committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal to rename what’s currently single-family zoning “neighborhood residential.”
Last Wednesday, a staffer from the office of citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the West Seattleite who’s sponsoring the proposal, was at the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting to talk about it.
That was one of several major topics at the online meeting led by MoCA president Deb Barker. Our recap is ahead: Read More
As reported here last month, citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (a West Seattle resident) is proposing a name change in the city zoning code – dropping “single-family” and replacing it with “neighborhood residential.” Her proposal would not change the actual zoning, just the name, but it’s considered a potential step toward eventually ending what some call “exclusionary zoning.” If you’re interested in hearing more about the name-change proposal, it’s one of the agenda items for tomorrow night’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, 7 pm online; attendance info (Zoom or phone) is in our calendar listing. The council is accepting comments now, and plans a public hearing one week from tomorrow, at 9:30 am Wednesday, July 28th – info on that is on this webpage about the proposal.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
But those weren’t the incidents that took up most of Thursday night’s Alki Community Council meeting. Attendees at the online meeting wanted to talk about what they say they hear and see daily/nightly – racing, drinking, fighting, noise. They also were resolute about not just complaining, but taking action.
Guests at the ACC meeting included a lieutenant, sergeant, and officer from the Southwest Precinct, and a manager from Seattle Parks. The SPD contingent talked about the staffing challenges they’ve outlined at countless community meetings; the Southwest Precinct remains down about a third, because of departmentwide attrition.
Toplines from the Fauntleroy Community Association board’s July meeting, online last night:
CRIME: Southwest Precinct Lt. David Terry and Sgt. Simon Edison ( were first on the agenda. Crime is down in Fauntleroy, they told the FCA. One attendee asked them about the category of catalytic-converter theft, after it had happened in their neighborhood. They didn’t have stats on that, the SPD guests said, but they said there’s a regional operation under way “to put the kibosh on it.” It’s a nationwide problem, they explained, complicated by the stolen catalytic converters being taken across state lines for the removal of precious metals. Not only is a regional task force working on it, they said, but there’s federal jurisdiction because of the interstate transport of stolen items. If it happens to you, they urged, please report it.
FESTIVAL: The decision hasn’t been made yet on whether to bring back the Fauntleroy Fall Festival this year; last one was in October 2019 (WSB coverage here). Some families may not be too keen on the idea of a large gathering with many children if those under 12 are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, it was noted; a community survey might be done to gauge the comfort level. Also, time is drawing short for the fundraising and volunteer-wrangling that’s needed to put on the free festival. The decision will be made by August 1st.
FERRIES: The FCA’s point person on ferry issues, Frank Immel, briefed other board members on the launch of the Community Advisory Group that was chosen for the Fauntleroy terminal-replacement project. They met last month (as covered here) and are set to meet again July 28th. Some in attendance wondered how – whether – CAG members will get feedback from the community at large; that’s yet to be determined.
MEMBERSHIP: A three-member committee has been working to raise awareness of FCA among community members, including pop-ups and door-to-door visits.
NEXT MEETING: The FCA board usually meets second Tuesdays but skips August; in September, the meeting likely will be in-person with an online option – watch fauntleroy.net for more on that.
In case you were wondering, Night Out officially makes its comeback this year. The night of block parties celebrating community safety and neighborhood collaboration will again be the first Tuesday in August – that’s August 3rd. Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner just sent word, including the RSVP link if you’re planning to close your non-arterial street for Night Out. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if if interested in swag, crime-prevention handouts, or other materials for distribution at Night Out.
Thanks to Graham for the photos and report: “We celebrated Pride with a walk with neighbors around Palm and Sunset today.”
Earlier this week, we reported on Seattle Parks reps meeting with neighbors near the Alki entrance to Schmitz Park to discuss their concerns about a stairway planned for the slope at 57th/Stevens. Parks reps promised to let the neighbors know by week’s end what would happen next. We’ve just received their followup email to neighbors, much of which recaps Monday’s site meeting, then concludes:
… Once again, we appreciate your willingness to meet with us to hear about the project and voice your opinions. It is important that we pause and take the time needed to address your concerns. In order (to) accomplish this, we will do the following:
-We will delay the installation of the stairs but will continue with the tree planting, vegetation management and invasive plant removal at this time.
-We will continue to coordinate with SDOT to address the safety concerns which were raised at the meeting. An addition of a staircase in the future will be dependent upon this coordination.
-We will keep you informed of any progress, changes or general information as we shift our focus to address your concerns.
As an interesting side note, we are working closely with the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks to prepare for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted in 2022. The replacement trees in this corridor will be the first of 200 trees that are intended to be planted to commemorate this celebration. Here is more information on this effort at olmsted200.org.
Stairway construction had been scheduled for August, Parks said at Monday’s meeting. Meantime, there was one update during the meeting recap in today’s email, addressing the neighbors’ contention that, contrary to Parks’ claim, there was no historic unofficial trail on the slope at the proposed stairway site: “(A neighbor and the two Parks managers) walked further east along the slope and found what appears to be the goat path in question. It has a fallen tree blocking at the upper elevation and has become overgrown but is still visible.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Back in April, we reported briefly on tree-cutting along the northwest approach to Schmitz Park. When asked, Seattle Parks told us that it was part of a “restoration project” that also would “make permanent an informal pathway up a steep hillside for safety.”
Now, with construction imminent, neighbors suddenly learned that plan involves building a full-fledged stairway up a slope where they insist there is no “informal pathway” – a stairway that would lead to and from a spot where there isn’t even a sidewalk, the corner of 57th and Stevens [map].
Outreach on the project was minimal, admitted two Parks managers who came to the site Monday afternoon for an outdoor meeting with upset neighbors, but they blamed that on the project proceeding in the early months of the pandemic, when public entities (among others) had to figure out new communications methods.
Michelle Whitfield and Kim Baldwin told the neighbors they were there to “hear your voices.” One clear voice promptly rang out: “Are you able to change the plans?”
Toplines from the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s board meeting online this past Tuesday:
CAR PROWL PREVENTION: Half the respondents in the recent FCA neighborhood-wide survey said they had been hit by car prowlers. So FCA’s been working on an initiative aimed at reducing this. They discovered it’s a nationwide problem and there’s no magic solution, but in collaboration with precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner, they’re printing signs that can be left in the car to warn thieves it’s not worth their trouble – “there’s nothing to steal.” FCA will distribute these to the community. No date yet for when these signs will be available. FCA webmaster Bill Wellington suggested making the sign available for home printing via fauntleroy.net.
POLICE UPDATE: Sgt. David Terry of the Southwest Precinct said thefts remain the highest crime category in Fauntleroy, which otherwise is what he calls “the safest area” in the precinct’s jurisdiction: Ten thefts in all for the month of April. Traffic violations are the biggest problem, one attendee said, pointing to a crash the previous night at 45th/Wildwood as the latest example:
First Wednesdays of each month are when the District 1 Community Network meets. Two spotlight topics are on the agenda for the West Seattle/South Park community coalition tomorrow: The city’s upcoming neighborhood-planning process for Westwood-Highland Park, and the Fauntleroy ferry-terminal replacement project. The meeting’s online, starting at 7 pm Wednesday, all welcome; here’s the videoconferencing link, meeting ID 850 4211 4712, passcode 165919.
P.S. Here’s our coverage of last month’s D1CN meeting.
It’s been 20 years since our area’s last major earthquake. The next one could happen in 20 more years, or 20 decades, or 20 minutes. Preparedness is vital. It can also seem overwhelming – where do you start? Spend a little time at 7 pm Wednesday (May 26th) getting some inspiration with HPAC, the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge. Here’s their preview:
We’ve been coping with a pandemic, and a major bridge closure, but are you ready for our next big seismic event?
If we had a major earthquake tomorrow that left us without water for several weeks would you know how to harvest water from your hot-water tank or make a makeshift toilet?
Both before and after a disaster, reliable information about services and supplies is just as important as preparedness for keeping people safe. The Highland Park Improvement Club is a member of the Seattle Emergency Hub Network, whose goal is to train Hub Captains and community volunteers to help provide important information both before and after a disaster strikes. Erika, one of the HPIC Hub Captains, will join us to give an overview of the Emergency Hub network, HPIC’s role, and give a preview of the types of events we have planned with the HUB in the coming months.
Other neighborhood concerns are welcome as always, HPAC says. Info on watching/participating via videoconferencing, or calling in by phone, is here – where you’ll also find info on the first in a series of upcoming webinars on the city’s earthquake plans.
Back in September, we told you about Poogooder, founded by West Seattleite Lori Kothe as a way to tackle the problem so many complain about … dog waste fouling sidewalks, planting strips, etc., and sparking un-neighborly spats. Lori says nearly 80 Poogooder disposal bins – each with its own volunteer steward – are now up in local neighborhoods. But that’s just a start toward ending the problem, so Lori’s announced the Zero Poo Challenge, and you have two ways to be part of it:
The Poogooder Zero Poo Challenge is a free, crowd-sourced education initiative to raise awareness of the social and environmental impacts of wayward dog poo and the small steps we can take to foster a happier, healthier community and planet. It involves 2 main activities open to the public: an all-ages PSA Art & Video Contest and a Wayward Poo Hunt. Participants can win prizes, fame, goodies from local businesses, and even trophies! Deadline to submit or vote for family-friendly PSA creations is June 12. The Wayward Poo Hunt citizen-science research project runs May 23 – June 12 and coincides with PAWSWalk. Poo Hunters will use the Pooper Snooper mobile app to “win” by finding real secret treasure tins hidden throughout West Seattle.
If you are a local business, educator, organization, or individual who would like to be involved in some way and/or donate to the prize packs, please submit a contact form at Poogooder.com. Let’s have fun, get the facts, and inspire change to do some good today. More info, Dog Poo 101 guide, PSA voting gallery, and entry details at zeropoo.com.
With summer approaching, the Alki Community Council focused on beach concerns at its monthly meeting online tonight. Here’s what happened:
POLICE UPDATE: Representing the precinct was acting Lt. David Terry, a 20-year SPD veteran who currently leads the night shift. He started off by saying that “a lot of officers are dedicated to Alki” because it’s a priority for the precinct, which has “added extra resources” to work in the beach area. He mentioned the SPD crime-data dashboard, which you can use to track incidents in specific neighborhoods, Alki included. In the last four weeks, 3 misdemeanor assaults, 12 property crimes. West Seattle in general has seen 2 shots-fired incidents with no injuries and 1 injury shooting (16th/Roxbury) recently. One person complained that she was on hold for 20 minutes one recent night and never saw police despite street racing and other problems. Lt. Terry explained that some major incidents have taken away personnel – such as a South Seattle shooting response that required officers to be pulled from the Southwest Precinct. He said SW commander Capt. Kevin Grossman has since tried to work out a way that the local precinct won’t be totally depleted by any such future calls. Some West Seattle calls have taken every available resource too, like the aforementioned shooting. On weekends, they have extra OT crews until midnight on Alki. If something is happening now, call 911, not the non-emergency line, he stressed. The attendee said she had been told by an officer later that they weren’t supposed to interfere with street racing, and Lt. Terry said that’s not true – there is no such directive – so he’s talking to his officers to stress that they are not under orders to “stand down.” Racing calls are now “priority 1.” he said, which means mandatory dispatch – even if that means pulling someone from elsewhere in the city.
The fire rings are back; the summer crowds are on the way. Want to talk about the beach? It’s the third Thursday, so the Alki Community Council is meeting online tonight, and you’re welcome to participate. Agenda highlights as sent by the ACC:
Update on Southwest Precinct, Sgt. David Terry, SW Precinct, SPD
Report on Alki Beach concerns
The meeting starts at 7 pm; you can attend via videoconference by going here, or by phone at 206-337-9723. (For both, the meeting ID is 995 1615 6974, passcode 638862.)