West Seattle, Washington
9:35 PM: There’s one heck of a fireworks show under way – according to the peek we could get from the end of our street, looks like it’s off south Bainbridge Island. Trying to find out whose!
9:44 PM: On Twitter/X, @westseawx unearthed an announcement from the Bainbridge Island Fire Department that there would be a “private fireworks show” tonight.
9:54 PM: The BIFD announcement said it would be “south of” the island and out of their jurisdiction, but within the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction.
10:05 PM: The BIFD announcement, and a KUOW story some have linked in comments, note that there was a similar show on the corresponding third Saturday night in September last year. We just checked our archives and it got only a fleeting mention because at that moment on that night (9/17/22) the West Seattle Bridge had just reopened.
10:23 PM: The dogs in our neighborhood are still barking. … We checked the latest Coast Guard Notice to Mariners, but it gave no hint of fireworks – the notation was just “Private Party, 2130-2200, IVO (in vicinity of) Blake Island.”
11:10 PM: For comparison, 10 years ago there was a private fireworks show off a barge off Beach Drive. The local company producing the celebration that included the show circulated an alert three weeks ahead of time.
SUNDAY EVENING: The Seattle Times identifies the fireworks company involved, and the various goverment agencies nominally involved, but still no enlightenment as to who the show was for and why.
5:10 PM: A texter sent that photo as several other readers were asking if we knew anything about that dark smoke from downtown. It’s a fire response logged to Fairview and Mercer, in the South Lake Union area, just re-coded on the 911 log to “encampment fire.” Firefighters are still working to extinguish it, according to radio exchanges.
6:06 PM: SFD says the fire is under control and that no one was hurt.
ADDED TUESDAY: Regional media has long since picked up on this – our initial basic item was published because they were slow on the uptake and we were getting lots of questions. But for the record, here’s the SPD report summary posted today:
At 1654 hours, officers responded to assist SFD with a fire that occurred in an encampment located near Minor Ave N / Mercer St. The encampment was in a vacant lot near an apartment building. SFD put the fire out before it could damage the apartment building. No one was in the encampment during the fire and the only losses were tent structures and personal property inside the encampment and plant life. Witnesses described a suspect who may have started the fire. Officers located that suspect in the area. The suspect provided information indicating that he lived in the encampment and accidentally started the fire. The suspect was taken into custody for Reckless Burning 1st degree.
10:17 AM: Thanks to everyone who sent pics/questions after a large, dark plume of smoke started billowing from Bainbridge Island. According to an alert from Bainbridge Island city government, it’s from a “working structure fire” in the Falk Road area (map). No other details.
12:42 PM: The Kitsap Sun has since published a story saying the fire was at a two-story house and is blamed on oil-soaked rags.
Summer camp isn’t just for kids – and it’s not just in the neighborhood. Want to get away? Wonder Camp in the San Juans is sponsoring WSB right now to let you know what you can experience there:
Come out to the San Juans to enjoy the lakes, mountains and forests – plus explore your creativity at Wonder Camp in Moran State Park.
Family Camp is August 5-8 with 3-night lodging and meals. Sing, strum, drum, play, dance, read poetry and learn directly from island creatives. Wonder Camp is the perfect chance to take a dive into creative arts and the natural world. Campers can also choose from indigo dyeing, blacksmithing, painting, drawing, and wildcrafted body-care-product-making classes. Guided field walks include herbalism, mushroom ID, and wilderness survival skills. Adult and family packages.
Spark your imagination – Lots to explore!
The historic Camp Moran is Wonder’s homebase and a lovely setting surrounded by meadows, mountains, forest and lake. Cabin and tent site options.
Meet our instructors and learn more at orcaswondercamp.org
Wonder Camp also is offering a Writers’ Track:
Writers of all types are invited to join the summer Wonder Camp for our Writers Track, August 6th and 7th.
Guest instructors for the Writers Track are Abigail Morgan Prout and Quinn Bailey, who both grew up in the San Juans and whose writings capture the intricate balance of loving, observing, fearing for, and protecting these beautiful islands.
Got a student in your household who’s interested in robotics? Two teams that meet a bit south of here – but have, and welcome, West Seattle participants – sent this announcement of an event that’s just a few days away:
Two local robotics teams will be hosting an information night for students and their families on May 23rd, from 6:30 to 8 pm. Tekerz Robotics and Skunk Works Robotics are competitive robotics teams based in the Highline area. They are affiliated with 4-H and accept members from any school, including homeschoolers. The teams share a workspace graciously provided by Highline Public Schools.
Skunk Works and Tekerz have been in the Highline area for 17 and 13 years respectively and have won numerous awards as part of FIRST robotics. Both are looking for new members who want an opportunity to develop and utilize skills in CAD, programming, graphic design, statistical analysis, marketing, wiring and parts fabrication. The teams function as businesses and learn marketable skills and teamwork under the supervision of mentors.
Students are welcome to visit with either team or both. The Tekerz plan to compete in FTC and FRC. The Skunks focus solely on the FRC division. FTC competes on a 12’x12′ field and builds robots that must fit into a 18″ cube. FTC is for students from 7th to 12th grade. FRC competes on a 54’x27′ field and builds robots that weigh less than 125lbs. The size requirements vary each year. FRC is primarily for 9th to 12th grade.
We ask that a parent or guardian attend as well. Interested students may fill out the Google form and the teams will contact them with additional information regarding the programs and the location prior to the event. You may also contact the teams directly via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
At the left side of that traffic-camera image is a sight that made a lot of teriyaki fans sad today – major fire damage at I Luv Teriyaki at 4th/Michigan just east of the north end of the 1st Avenue South Bridge [map]. The fire was big but didn’t get as much citywide-media attention today as it might have if not for some other big incidents, so several people asked us about it. We just got info tonight from Seattle Fire. Nobody was hurt in the fire, reported just after 1:30 am. SFD says its investigators determined the fire “was accidental and started in the kitchen.”
11:45 AM: Alex suggested other West Seattle neighbors headed east today might want to know that a big power outage in Georgetown, SODO, and Beacon Hill is affecting some businesses and major intersections. If you’re planning to head that way, check the map first.
1:51 PM: Most of the outage area has power back, except (mostly) for the SODO customers with a planned outage as noted by Amy in comments.
With a clear view from across the bay, the Space Needle‘s New Year’s Eve fireworks show is practically local for us, so here’s what was just announced: For one, if you’d rather be there in person than watching from here (or on a screen), they’re again going to allow a crowd to gather for viewing from beneath the Needle at Seattle Center. Second, they’re adding a drone light show this year. It’ll be produced by Sky Elements of Fort Worth, Texas. Here’s how the Space Needle’s announcement describes the plan:
The captivating formations — designed to integrate with the fireworks and light displays being launched and projected off of the Space Needle — will fly between 200 and 600 feet above ground, directly north of the tower. The coordinated drone effects will be best seen from the Seattle Center campus grounds. This won’t be the firm’s first show in the Emerald City; Sky Elements’ drones performed at T-Mobile Park following a Seattle Mariners game on July 22, 2022.
Before the midnight fireworks and drone light show, the Needle will stage “two musically-choreographed light shows” at 10 pm and 11 pm, produced by Illuminate Production Services; the 11 minutes of fireworks are by Pyro Spectaculars by Souza.
Texter reported a lot of black smoke from the north end of Vashon Island, so we looked into it, and found out there’s a house-fire response in the 10700 block of SW 111th Place [vicinity map]. No further information so far.
P.S. No official information, but commenters have shared some updates and visuals.
For those who have a view across Elliott Bay, or will be walking/riding/driving along the downtown-facing West Seattle waterfront, an FYI: The Space Needle has announced special lights for Sunday night:
In celebration of Team USA’s exciting return to the FIFA World Cup, and in anticipation of Seattle selected to be the host city for the FIFA World Cup in 2026, the Space Needle is proud to light up red, white, and blue and fly the American flag.
The FIFA World Cup honor will take place on Sunday, November 20 at 9 PM, prior to Team USA’s first match on Monday morning vs Wales.
Additionally, the Space Needle celebrates two Seattle Sounders players who will be playing for Team USA in the World Cup: Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan have been named to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This marks the first FIFA World Cup call-up for either player.
Several people asked about an investigation that lasted for hours along southbound Highway 509 south of West Seattle, just north of Glendale Way South/5th Avenue South. (Thanks to Mel for the photo.) The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death and looking for the public’s help:
Detectives are requesting the community’s help as they investigate what happened to a female found deceased this morning on the side of Highway 509.
We’re requesting information for anyone who was driving southbound on 509 between the 1st Ave. South Bridge and the 518 interchange between midnight and 7:30 am this morning (October 7th) and observed anything suspicious (vehicles stopped, people on the roadway, etc.) or have dashcam video.
If you know or saw anything, call our tip line 206-296-3311 or report anonymous tips at P3Tips.com – Case #C22033455
10:21 AM: Thanks to everybody who’s sent photos of this (the one above is by Paul Weatherman) smoke cloud from a fire southeast of West Seattle. The problem with trying to sleuth this is that there are several calls on the logs on both sides of the city-limit line that could apply – but according to a tweet from WSDOT (thanks to @WestSeaWX for pointing us there), it’s a residential fire near Highway 509, which is blocked northbound near South Cloverdale as a result. It’s in the 10400 block of 8th Avenue South [map]. More as we get it.
10:43 AM: Thanks to John Graham for that photo from downtown. We’ve tried to get to the fire scene but got stuck in traffic. Northbound 509 is still closed in the area, according to WSDOT.
11:08 AM: King County Fire District 2 has just tweeted that photo, saying they’re still working to knock down the fire, and adding that no injuries are reported so far.
11:41 AM: They’ve also tweeted acknowledgments: “Thank you to responding agencies for their support, including Skyway Fire, Medic One, Port of Seattle, Tukwila Fire, Renton Fire, Puget Sound RFA, Seattle City Light, PSE, Water District #20, Zone 3 Rehab, and Members of Seattle that were at the training center to assist!” Meantime, WSDOT says one lane of northbound 509 has reopened.
2:10 PM: Two more photos tweeted by fire agencies (via @ZONE3PIOS)
Northbound 509 has fully reopened,
Maybe you were a seller. Maybe you were busy doing something else. Or maybe six hours just wasn’t enough time to do all the shopping you wanted to do on West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 3+ weeks ago. So here’s another chance to shop till you drop – Shorewood on the Sound (within the Burien city limits) is bringing back its Streets of Sales this Saturday (June 11th), 9 am-4 pm. They are extending a special invitation to their northern neighbors (that’s us) to head a bit south and shop 30+ sales within a single square mile. Shorewood on the Sound has been doing this for 20+ years. This link will get you to their map.
1:48 PM: Thanks for all the tips. There’s a big fire callout just north of the 1st Av S bridge. SFD says the fire is in a boathouse. Updates to come.
2:11 PM: Update from SFD: “6300 block of 1st Ave. South: three boats and boathouse (housing two of the boats) have burned. One person reported to have sustained injuries; search of boats is still underway. Working to put out hot spots.” Here’s a map.
2:52 PM: SFD says that “one person reported to have been aboard one of the burned boats has not been located at this time.” Meantime, SFD investigators are working to figure out what started the fire. (And if you were wondering about traffic, cameras indicate the bridge is operating normally.)
7:33 PM: Molly points out in comments that SFD has since updated to say, “firefighters have unfortunately located a deceased individual inside the cabin area of one of the boats that caught fire. The Medical Examiner’s office has been contacted and is responding to the scene.”
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: SPD’s report summaries includes this additional information on the incident: “The Fire Marshal responded and determined the fire to be accidental. The boat had been occupied by the same elderly man for at least the past ten years. He was reported by witnesses to be in poor health, a heavy smoker, and on oxygen.”
3:47 PM: The 4th Avenue South bridge in SODO (south of Costco) is closed right now both ways because of “leaning poles.” No word yet how long repairs are expected to take. There’s also a power outage in the area – (added) reader Mary tells us, “No lights at Costco and no traffic lights working on 4th Ave.”
8:05 PM: The bridge is still closed, and buses are being diverted. Many of the customers involved in the original outage have their power back, but the SCL map still shows 140+ out.
If you look across Elliott Bay and see the Space Needle bathed in blue light tonight and tomorrow night, this announcement we just received explains why:
The Space Needle will be lit in blue tonight, displaying a message of Peace and Diplomacy, as we join landmarks around the world in lighting in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. We anticipate remaining lit in blue tomorrow evening as well.
Next door to the Needle, the Pacific Science Center was illuminated for Ukraine last night.
As more workers return to offices, downtown traffic will continue increasing, so the city will start turning on its new enforcement cameras. Here’s the SDOT map of their locations:
Today’s announcement says activation will start in March – first, the five cameras that will monitor bus lanes; then the four that will watch busy intersections where drivers tend to “block the box.” The locations were originally announced last November, and signs about them were installed, SDOT says. When they start ticketing, it’ll be a $75 fine, as with the cameras on the West Seattle low bridge. These, like those, were authorized by the State Legislature. More information on the plan, and what the revenue goes toward, is on the city website.
You’ve probably heard about that deadly fire Tuesday at a Tukwila apartment complex. Three people, including a small chlld, were killed, and dozens more lost their homes and belongings. West Seattleites are among those helping with relief efforts, and Maggie forwarded us this announcement from the church coordinating it all, in case you want to help too:
Riverton Park United Methodist Church today announced it is expanding its relief efforts in response to the tremendous needs of the 31 families displaced in this week’s Maple Crest Apartments fire. The majority of families were forced to flee the 5:00am fire, which claimed three lives, with only the clothes on their backs and the entirety of their belongings were a total loss. RPUMC
volunteers continue to gather donations from the community daily from 9:00 am-6:00 pm, including Saturdays at the church, 3118 S. 140th St., in Tukwila [map]. The majority of families are now living in hotels and have identified the following items as high-priority needs:
• Gift cards for restaurants, gas, groceries and general retails stores.
• New or gently used laptops, cell phones and cell phone chargers.
• Gently used or new luggage with wheels.
• New linens or “Bed in a Bag” kits (inclusive of sheets, comforters, etc.).
• Small kitchen appliances including rice cookers, hot pads, microwaves.
• Sets of boxed drinking glasses.
• Shelf-stable, nutritious foods that can be microwaved or eaten cold, including vegetarian options. These include soups, pasta, peanut butter, tuna, coffee, etc.
• Coats for men, women and children. No other clothes needed at this time.
• New or gently used shoes for men, women and children.
Donations of cash for fire victims are being accepted at all BECU locations.
RPUMCC Tent Village Members and Community Organizations Partner in Relief Effort
This relief effort is largely run by community volunteers, including members of the RPUMC Tent Village. These individuals are taking an active role in supporting key aspects of the relief operation including receiving and sorting donations with other members of the community. They also play a similar role in supporting RPUMC’s weekly food bank, which continues to serve local families.
RPUMC would like to give a special thank you to Pine Lake Middle School Leadership Class and to Rotary Clubs across the region who have been generous partners in this relief effort.
12:11 PM: Thanks to Jennifer for calling the WSB hotline to suggest readers who are airport-bound should know about a big problem at Sea-Tac – the lower arrivals drive is closed right now while a “suspicious package” is investigated. That’s led to a massive traffic backup. The airport advises via Twitter, “If you’re looking to use the lower arrivals drive, we encourage you to use the south entrance at S. 182nd St. Upper departures drive is open, but has heavy traffic.”
12:38 PM: The lower arrivals drive has reopened. But keep in mind that traffic backups take a while to dissipate.
Thanks to Chris Frankovich for the photo. That smoke visible from southwest West Seattle is from a big fire in Tacoma – “an exterior debris pile fire at a metal recycling facility in the 1900 block of Marine View Drive” [map], according to Tacoma FD.
— Tacoma Fire (@TacomaFire) July 9, 2021
If you or someone in your family graduated high school in 1971, this summer is the 50th anniversary. We’ve already published an announcement for the West Seattle High School Class of ’71 reunion. Now the John F. Kennedy High School Class of ’71 is casting a wide net for its grads – the school’s in Burien but has and had attendees from other communities including West Seattle. This was sent by ’71 alum Marcee Stone-Vekich:
The years 1967-1971 were transformative years in this country. The times they were a-changing. The Vietnam War protests, civil-rights marches, the Chicago Seven, the first Earth Day, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. We also witnessed the moon landing, Woodstock, the first black woman elected to Congress (Shirley Chisholm), and the NY Jets winning the Super Bowl. As the Buffalo Springfield sang “Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” What we do know is that it was a very interesting era.
These were the events happening outside of Kennedy High School, which certainly impacted us, but our high school years went on. We were only the second class to graduate from Kennedy, a newly built high school that grew from one class of freshmen to a full four-year school by the time we were Juniors. We showed up daily, the girls in their uniforms with pleated skirts, the boys in slacks and dress shirts. No jeans, corduroys, or T-shirts allowed. No long hair permitted on the boys and no short skirts for the girls. And a principal who roamed the halls enforcing these rules.
The teachers had high expectations and supported us in achieving those expectations. Some of us were involved in extracurricular activities such as drill team, debate club, drama, and athletics. Others went to school and at the end of the day worked a part-time job. Many of us attended the occasional dances on Friday nights, enjoying live bands such as Merilee and the Turnabouts, swaying to “Angel of the Morning.” Then there were the formal events. The boys wearing their rented tuxes, several with pastel-colored coats, and the girls in their gowns going to the Homecomings, Tolos, and Proms. And we can’t forget the occasional retreats. The way high school should be.
That was then, this is now. Fifty years later we are about to gather again. The old cliques will be gone, like the classmates who have passed on before us, and we will all share about our lives post-graduation and reminisce about those high-school years.