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FOLLOWUP: Schmitz Park slope stairway to be ‘delayed’

(WSB photo, proposed stairway site at 57th/Stevens)

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

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.”

Neighbors hope to derail surprise Schmitz Park stairway

(WSB photos)

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?”

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Crime prevention, ferry updates, more @ Fauntleroy Community Association

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

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:

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WEDNESDAY: Neighborhood planning, Fauntleroy ferry terminal @ District 1 Community Network

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.

ARE YOU READY? Earthquake prep on HPAC’s agenda Wednesday

May 24, 2021 11:33 am
|    Comments Off on ARE YOU READY? Earthquake prep on HPAC’s agenda Wednesday
 |   Delridge | Highland Park | Neighborhoods | Preparedness | West Seattle news

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.

West Seattle’s Poogooder invites you to join ‘Zero Poo Challenge’

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 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

Beach concerns, police update, Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Street advocacy, more @ Alki Community Council

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.

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With summer almost here, Alki Community Council talks about beach concerns tonight

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.)

Duwamish Tribe recognition campaign, crime stats, low-bridge access, more from District 1 Community Network’s May meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The District 1 Community Network – a coalition of West Seattle and South Park groups and organizations – spent this month’s meeting on a collection of ongoing issues.

D1CN has no elected leadership, but rather rotates meeting facilitators month to month. For May’s meeting, held online this past Wednesday, Randy Wiger from South Park served in that role.

DUWAMISH TRIBE RECOGNITION: Jolene Haas, director of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, asked D1CN for a letter of support in the tribe’s continuing quest for federal recognition. She recapped the history, including the brief granting of recognition in the waning days of the Clinton Administration, reversed 20 years ago by the Bush Administration. Now they’re trying to take it to federal courts, as Haas said some other tribes have done, successfully. Their lawyers are working on the case and are also working through the U.S. House.

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Tomorrow is Neighbor Day. Here are 6 West Seattle examples of neighborliness

Saturday (May 8th) is Neighbor Day in Seattle. No major events again this year, but to get you into the spirit, the Department of Neighborhoods has published a list of neighbors around the city who were nominated for a special spotlight – the department “asked the community to submit nominations for people, businesses, and organizations who went above and beyond to help and support their friends and neighbors.” The West Seattle neighbors who are included on the list are:

Odetta Owen Boudreau, for the food-pickup program at Highland Park Improvement Club
Joe Wadden, who picks up trash while out for walks
Ella McRae, community builder for Seattle Housing Authority in High Point
Circa in The Admiral District, community-spirited restaurant
Lori Kothe for creating Poogooder
Jeff Daley, nicknamed ‘Mayor of Gatewood’

Read more about them and the others spotlighted from around the city by going here. And then you’re invited to celebrate Neighbor Day “by indulging in random acts of kindness.”

Speed-hump building has begun, and other updates @ HPAC’s second meeting of spring

(WSB photo, SW Barton west of 9th SW)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New speed humps are popping up all over Highland Park, South Delridge, and Riverview. SDOT is building up to six a day, and sent reps to HPAC‘s monthly meeting to talk about Home Zone progress and other Reconnect West Seattle projects meant to tackle bridge-detour cut-through traffic.

SDOT’s Sara Zora and David Burgesser began by announcing the RWS project dashboard – centered on a map – has been updated.

A quarterly report is now out, too – here are the key points:

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WEEK AHEAD: District 1 Community Network to talk about low bridge, crime, development

May 2, 2021 8:59 pm
|    Comments Off on WEEK AHEAD: District 1 Community Network to talk about low bridge, crime, development
 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

One of the community meetings of note in the week ahead: The District 1 Community Network, online at 7 pm Wednesday (May 5th). D1CN is an independent coalition of organizations and community advocates from West Seattle and South Park. Three topics of high interest are part of the agenda – an SDOT guest will talk about low-bridge access, now that applications are open for more authorization categories; an SPD guest will be there to talk about local crime trends and concerns; and the project-team member from the proposed mixed-use redevelopment at 6007 California SW who talked to the Morgan Community Association last month is scheduled too. D1CN rotates facilitators month to month, and Randy Wiger from South Park is the May facilitator.If you’re interested in attending, here’s the video link; by phone, it’s 253-215-8782. For both options, the meeting ID is 850 4211 4712, and the passcode is 165919.

WEEK AHEAD: HPAC talks about Reconnect West Seattle Home Zone work Wednesday

April 25, 2021 7:46 pm
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 |   Delridge | Highland Park | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Also coming up this week, the monthly meeting for HPAC, the community council for the Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge neighborhoods. From the announcement:

Seeing these new SDOT signs around the neighborhood? Drop in to our monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28 for updates from SDOT regarding work on the Home Zone projects and reporting on Reconnect West Seattle efforts rolling out in 2021 that need our input. Bring any new concerns or traffic impacts you are noticing!

We’ll also reserve some time to generate neighborhood specific concerns and questions for upcoming Mayoral candidate forums. Plus – save the date: Saturday, May 1 work party opportunity at Highland Park Improvement Club – help trusty trustees pull down the 100 year old chimney and do general garden/lot maintenance – social distancing + masking observed! Drop in any time 8 am-4 pm.

Wednesday night’s HPAC meeting is online; connection/call-in info is here.

Updates on a dozen hot topics @ Morgan Community Association

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Morgan Community Association meets quarterly, and as a result its meetings are usually packed with information. Here’s what we heard last night, in the online meeting led by MoCA president Deb Barker:

MORGAN MINUTES: These are quick updates aiming for a minute each:

West Seattle Art Walk – Morgan continues with participants on second Thursdays, next one May 13th – features participants, and venues have window signs.

Save The Stone Cottage – The historic Harbor Avenue bungalow was raised on April 13th, “14 inches at a time,” still no date set for the move to Port of Seattle land but an auction is planned before that, with opportunities including being the person to press the button to move it off the foundation. It’s going to be a late-night event, as have been previous structural moves. Donations to the crowdfunding account still welcome.

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal – The replacement project is in planning now, as we’ve reported. Friday is the deadline for applying to be on the Community Advisory Group for the project.

District 1 Community Network – We covered its most-recent meeting here; MoCA vice president Phil Tavel briefed attendees on what happened. D1CN meets on first Wednesdays, 7 pm, online, all welcome. The coalition plans to present online interviews with mayoral and at-large council candidates, and a forum in summertime too.

35th/Graham work – As we previewed on Tuesday, the crossing signal-and-more project linked to the West Seattle Greenway project is starting.


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TONIGHT: Morgan Community Association’s quarterly meeting

April 21, 2021 9:54 am
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 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Businesses, development, parks, art, transportation, crime – those and other topics are on the agenda for tonight’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association. It’s online at 7 pm and all who are interested in Morgan Junction happenings are welcome. The agenda, and viewing/call-in information, can be found in our calendar listing.

Gatewood Gardens: Flowers and neighborliness in bloom

(Photos courtesy Krista Billinghurst)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

You don’t have to have a sprawling valley full of farm fields to celebrate flowers.

The West Seattle neighbors who created “Gatewood Gardens” have done it with boxes and borders along a busy city street.

Walking in Gatewood, we had seen the flowers but didn’t realize they were part of a unified neighborhood project until an email from Krista Billinghurst. She explained that the pandemic stay-home time inspired neighbor Aaron Smith to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs along a 2-block stretch of California Avenue SW – including her corner (at SW Portland) where, she said, “he asked if he could plant some tulips in a garden box we had on our parking strip. It was an overgrown mess of weeds that I’m sure everyone was tired of looking at.”

The results drew attention from passersby.

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Alki Community Council talks about police patrols, beach behavior

(Photo by James Tilley)

It’s a summery spring night on Alki. Despite signs like the one above, SFD has been called out to handle unauthorized beach fires tonight. And SPD has been summoned to investigate reports of racing/stunt-driving at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. Reckless driving was.a big topic at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting, including late-night crashes like this one hours after the meeting:

(Texted photo: Car damaged by hit-run driver in 1400 block Alki after 9 pm Thursday)

Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim represented local police at the ACC meeting. She recapped what we reported on Monday about last Sunday’s multi-agency show of force – noting that the State Patrol is “really interested in the street racers” because the groups often use I-5 to get from one point to another.

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EARTH DAY 2021: At-home celebration invitation

April 15, 2021 9:26 am
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 |   Environment | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

That’s one of the signs made by West Seattleites of all ages in honor of Earth Day last year, after an invitation to create and place signs of support in windows or yards. Earth Day is April 22nd – one week from today – and you’re invited to do it again! From Vince Stricherz:

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day, that annual celebration of our planet and all the work being done to protect its environment, is fast approaching. Once again, the Care for Creation team from Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes is urging people all over West Seattle to place an Earth-related photo or illustration in their windows or a sign in their yards on April 22 to demonstrate our commitment to taking care of this place we call home. One possibility is for kids to make drawings around Earth Day themes, or kids and adults can work together to make displays highlighting the importance of clean water, clean air and healthy soil! You also can download images from the Internet and place them where all who pass by your home can see them. We hope to see lots of images celebrating Earth Day!

As we did last year, we also invite you to send us a photo of your sign/display on Earth Day – or text the pic to our 24/7 hotline at 206-293-6302 – thank you!

District 1 Community Network hears from affordable-homeownership advocate, city’s lead lawyer

April 14, 2021 5:26 pm
|    Comments Off on District 1 Community Network hears from affordable-homeownership advocate, city’s lead lawyer
 |   Neighborhoods | South Park | West Seattle news

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Affordable housing and city law were the two centerstage topics at this month’s meeting of the District 1 Community Network, a West Seattle/South Park coalition of community advocates.

COMMUNITY LAND TRUST: Most talk of “affordable housing” focuses on renting. The Community Land Trust concept focuses on homeownership. Kathleen Hosfeld, executive director of Homestead Community Land Trust, explained it to D1CN attendees. In short – a Community Land Trust retains ownership of the land, which is leased by homebuyers, reducing the cost of houses.

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INVITATION: Fauntleroy Community Association’s annual meeting Tuesday

April 9, 2021 1:41 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

For a second year, the Fauntleroy Community Association won’t be able to have the Food Fest in connection with its annual meeting, but the meeting will happen anyway, online, 7 pm next Tuesday (April 13th). FCA president Mike Dey explains, “We plan to review the FCA accomplishments and what the FCA has been working on during 2020. Additionally there will be a vote for the board members and officers to serve during 2021. Following the annual meeting, we will continue into our monthly business meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend by just staying on the same Zoom link. No additional registration required. The business meeting will run from approximately 7:30 to 9:00 PM.” Registration is required to get the link – go here for that.

Community Land Trusts, city attorney @ District 1 Community Network tomorrow

April 6, 2021 2:52 pm
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 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Interested in more-affordable homeownership? You can learn about Community Land Trusts at Wednesday night’s online meeting of the District 1 Community Network, whose members/participants span West Seattle and South Park. Also on the agenda: City Attorney Pete Holmes, who is running for re-election this year, so far unopposed; we covered his appearance at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting in February. Wednesday’s meeting starts at 7 pm; here’s the full agenda, which includes information on how to participate or listen.

Public safety, public art discussed @ HPAC

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two high-profile topics filled the agenda as HPAC – the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – met online this past week: Public safety and public art.

To talk about public safety, HPAC invited a neighbor, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, which was back in the spotlight again this week for a proposed cut in the police budget. (We explained her compromise proposal here; the committee agreed the next day to substitute it for the previous version.) “We wanted to hear your thinking” on the big picture, explained HPAC co-chair Kay Kirkpatrick. “How can we make meaningful change, while staying safe?”

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Looking ahead to summer, and beyond, @ Alki Community Council

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On a blustery night like tonight, summer might seem far away.

But city departments are preparing for Alki Beach’s summer season, as the Alki Community Council heard at its March meeting. That’s part of what guests from SPD and Seattle Parks discussed; ACC also hosted guests from the Northwest Seaport Alliance and Port of Seattle, with a status report on the Terminal 5 project.

SPD UPDATE: Lt. Dorothy Kim was there on behalf of the Southwest Precinct. As she had told the Fauntleroy Community Association a week earlier (WSB coverage here), SPD stats show auto theft is way up, so the precinct is working to activate a second vehicle equipped with Automated License Plate Readers.

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