West Seattle, Washington
Today is the holiday-season occasion known as Giving Tuesday – with the spotlight on donations. We feature giving opportunities year-round on WSB, including the list of donation drives in our West Seattle Holiday Guide. But we received two requests for Giving Tuesday mentions, both coincidentally on West Seattle’s Puget Ridge, so we’re sharing them with you:
SANISLO ELEMENTARY: The Sanislo PTA wants you to know that even a little gift will make a big difference for their small-but-mighty school:
Sanislo Elementary School is one of the smallest schools in Seattle Public Schools, and it is right here in the heart of West Seattle. We know our tiny school escaped the chopping block for this next year’s school consolidation push, but we are trying to prove that our tiny school (fewer than 200 students) is an important part of our community.
The Sanislo PTA is doing a GIVING TUESDAY fundraiser, and we are hoping for just $2,000 in donations from at least 30 donors. It’s a modest goal, but these funds go a long way with our small school. Our PTA funds everything from afterschool activities (improv classes, Ultimate Frisbee team, movie nights, and cultural celebrations) to basic classroom necessities (snacks, reading materials, classroom supplies).
We are a Title 1 school, which means a considerable majority of our students are from low-income families. Sanislo is certainly one of the under-resourced schools described by the district, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer our students the support, community, and education they deserve. We believe that all students should have the opportunity to create, learn, and grow within the community that supports them.
So, help us support them. Anyone can contribute to our fundraiser at our Member Planet Donation site. memberplanet.com/campaign/sanislopta/givingtuesday_34 or through our Venmo Platform — @Sanislo-Pta .
Small schools are on borrowed time in Seattle, and we want to prove that because we have strong roots in our community and are willing to water our potential with our own generosity, our students will grow and thrive without uprooting them and transplanting them somewhere new.
The Sanislo PTA’s gardening analogy fits with the fact that the other fundraiser we were asked to share is for a garden so big it’s a public park – Puget Ridge Edible Park has a donation drive going today:
Our story started with a Seattle City Parks acquisition levy that passed with big voter support. Our Puget Ridge neighborhood organized to apply for a grant to acquire a 3/4 acre parcel that is one of the last standing undeveloped agriculture-based land. For the past 8 years this land has been regenerated through permaculture techniques to provide free, self-harvest food to the public.
We also distribute food through our farmstand and to food banks. It is our goal to share the methods we had set forth to make this project a reality. Organizing the community to have open communications on a variety of topics through an email group was the first step to our success. Finding a few motivated gardeners with some knowledge and background was not hard. Starting awareness events and work parties began to gel a core group capable of making great progress over the years of development. The park has been a learning center for local backyard gardeners as well as schools. We have also seen similar projects started from this project. Our only real financial support has been the Seed Money Campaign.
Puget Ridge Edible Park is at 18th/Brandon.
As we move into the season of long dark nights, we have news of a light show coming to West Seattle for the holiday season. The website for the Seattle Chinese Garden, which is on the north end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus on Puget Ridge, points to the site for Astra Lumina, a traveling light show described as an hour-long “enchanted night walk” along a “celestial pathway of lustrous light, cosmic visions, and astral song” comprising a “multisensory immersive experience for all ages.” It’s been to 19 other places, including Los Angeles, for which this promotional clip was prepared:
This is expected to be a regional attraction, December 8-31, running Thursdays-Sundays, 5 pm-10 pm (Saturdays until 1 pm), then seven nights a week December 14-31. Admission, according to the Astra Lumina website, will be $41 for ages 13 and up, $35 seniors 65+, $31 kids 4-12, group discounts available, plus paid parking if you drive. Lots of info on this page (scroll down and you’ll find an FAQ link).
SPD and SFD are arriving at the scene of a collision at 16th/Myrtle. According to emergency-radio exchanges, a 35-year-old woman is reported to have been hit by a driver and suffered an ankle injury. The driver, according to dispatch, pulled over and remains on scene. Avoid the area for a while.
1:48 PM: The last big back-to-school day of fall is tomorrow (Tuesday, September 26th), when hundreds of students start classes at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor). If you’ve been considering continuing your education, it’s not too late to register – you can start the process here. We asked SSC communications director Ty Swenson what’s planned to welcome students back; he told us, “For the first two days of fall (tomorrow and Wednesday), we will have ‘Ask Me’ volunteers posted up around campus to help students find classes and resources. Weather permitting, we will also have a table with snacks in the clock tower plaza. A Welcome Back BBQ that was scheduled for Thursday is being rescheduled to a better-weather day next week.” SSC is part of the three-school Seattle Colleges district, which also includes Seattle Central College on Capitol Hill and North Seattle College near Northgate.
4:30 PM: Commenter Mellow Kitty pointed out that SSC is going “smoke-free” with the new quarter’s start. Swenson confirms it, explaining, “We are becoming a smoke-free campus (including smoking, chewing and vaping) starting this fall quarter. It will be a gradual roll-out of introducing folks to the new policy throughout the quarter as we place signage, remove smoking huts and share cessation resources with the campus community.”
7:29 PM: Thanks for the tips. Above is a screengrab of the Seattle City Light map showing 317 customers lost power about 10 minutes ago, mostly in the Puget Ridge area. No obvious cause yet. Let us know if you see SCL crews!
7:51 PM: We don’t know yet if it’s related but SFD is responding to a vault fire in the 6700 block of West Marginal [map]. Firefighters report “light smoke coming from an underground vault” and SFD says via Twitter/X: “Firefighters are establishing a 300-foot safety perimeter as a precaution and to protect nearby structures.” … The outage map has, since the start, included two spots off West Marginal, including one in the area of the vault fire, so that might be an indication.
8:05 PM: They’re dismissing most of the units from the vault-fire call.
9:19 PM: Power’s restored to the 300+ who were out.
After a year as acting and then interim chancellor of the Seattle Colleges system, Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap is now its permanent chancellor. The system includes West Seattle-based South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), of which Dr. Rimando-Chareunsap served as president before taking on the role of running the system. She was one of three finalists after a nationwide search. From today’s announcement:
Dr. Rimando-Chareunsap has dedicated much of her career to Seattle Colleges. She stepped in as acting chancellor in July 2022 while maintaining her role as president of South Seattle College. She previously served as vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion for the district, and has held other important roles across the system for more than 20 years. She was recognized as a rising star in 2019 by the Aspen Institute, which selected her for its prestigious Presidential Fellows Program.
She holds a B.A. in English and Ethnic Studies from Washington State University (WSU), a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, and a Doctorate of Education from WSU.
So what’s next for SSC leadership? Here’s how today’s announcement answers that question:
The search for a new interim and then permanent president at South Seattle College will commence shortly. Dr. Jean Hernandez, an educational leader with nearly four decades of experience, joined South Seattle College as interim president on Nov. 30, 2022, and served in the role through the academic year.
Along with SSC, the Seattle Colleges system includes North Seattle College and Seattle Central College, plus five specialty centers.
Seven hours in, the local amateur-radio operators gathered at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) for this year’s Field Day are just getting started. They’ll be there for a full 24 hours, until midday tomorrow. It’s part of a national event, so they’re talking with and listening to other “hams” around the country. They’re also talking about technology:
And they even have a swap meet set up for buying and selling equipment:
Ham radio is more than a hobby – it’s also a vital part of the plan for communications in case a catastrophe interrupts the regular methods, so this event is a test/practice too:
Many of the scheduled events for the day are over but you’re still welcome to stop by (all ages invited) to see what they’re doing and how things work – they’re in the north lot and field of the college (6000 16th SW).
For 24 hours this weekend, 11 am Saturday to 11 am Sunday, the north side of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus will again become a ham-radio hub for the annual Field Day. And it’s all open to the public – you can stop by, observe, participate, and, as organizers explain, “learn more about emergency preparedness, community engagement and service through communication, and the wide world of ham radio!” This is an annual event known as “ham radio’s open house” – and it’s nationwide, as organizers explain:
Field Day is part show-and-tell, part preparedness exercise, and part nationwide contest, aimed at sharpening technical skills and growing the hobby of amateur radio generally. Members will join thousands of other stations set up in fields and remote locations across the country for a weekend of on-air operation. This event is meant to mimic operations in an emergency situation, like an earthquake, where power, internet and cellphone service might be interrupted.
Look for antennas, trailers, and tents in and around the SSC north parking lot and field (6000 16th SW). Field Day is organized locally by Puget Sound Repeater Group and West Seattle Amateur Radio Club. You can see the detailed schedule of events by going here.
2:27 PM: We’ve been tracking what have become relatively frequent reports of brown water, usually attributed by Seattle Public Utilities to hydrant testing (after a recent procedure change) stirring up “sediment” (mostly rust) in the lines. Today, we have a report from Rob on 17th in Puget Ridge: “Just ran the tap and the water color is like iced tea.” If this happens to you, please always report it to SPU at 206-386-1800; we appreciate the reports as well, since there’s no other public compilation of where and when it happened.
3:26 PM: We also have reports from upper South Alki via email and Highland Park via a comment below.
Callers to 911 reported hearing gunfire and a speeding-away vehicle around 18th/Dawson on Puget Ridge just after 5 pm last night. Police were gone before we could get there but we finally have confirmation today that responding officers did find “evidence of a shooting” (in other words, casings) but did not find property damage or injured people, The police-report summary says one witness saw “shots being fired into the air from a moving vehicle (and a) second vehicle was also seen following the first and believed to be related.” The summary, however, does not include a description of either vehicle.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We often hear from people upset about RV encampments. We seldom hear from the people who live in them. Tonight we talked with an RV resident because of this:
Last night, that note was called to our attention on Twitter by local “mutual aid” volunteers. They said the note was found last night by vehicle residents on Puget Ridge. “We have been asked by our friends to help call attention to this, hoping that putting a spotlight on this will grant them some small level of protection should the author of this letter attack them or their homes,” the volunteers tweeted. When we asked a followup question, they offered to put us in touch with a recipient. This morning, they provided a name and number, and tonight we spoke by phone with Michelle.
She and her husband recently moved their vehicles (including a truck) to 16th SW alongside South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), where earlier today we counted three RVs and two trucks. Michelle says they found a copy of the note on their windshield; another woman who lives in a vehicle on the block found a copy stuck in her door. It’s not the first time they’ve been harassed, Michelle says, citing incidents of people throwing things at them, from rocks to dog poop.
They aren’t longtime vehicle residents, she says, but they are longtime West Seattle residents – 17 years. Her husband is a 33-year longshore worker who suffered a stroke last fall. They’re looking for an apartment, she says, and thought they’d found one recently, but the landlord changed their mind. So they’ve been moving from parking site to parking site – Westwood and Highland Park before the current stop in Puget Ridge.
For people like her who live in vehicles, Michelle says, what would really help is a place to park. Even a space they’d have to pay rent for. (The City Council budgeted money for a “safe lot” and the Regional Homelessness Authority has awarded a nonprofit a $1.9 million contract to get one going – LIHI, the same nonprofit that runs tiny-house villages including West Seattle’s Camp Second Chance – but they haven’t set one up yet, saying they’re still seeking a site.) A place to park where they wouldn’t get harassed.
Which brings us back to the note. If you could talk to the anonymous note-writer, we asked Michelle, what would you tell them? That their allegations are wrong, she says. Nobody there currently is a sex offender, drug dealer, or addict, as the note alleges, Michelle insists. In fact, she suggests, if they’re worried about sex offenders, they should be more concerned about a “halfway house” she says is somewhere nearby. (For the record, the sex-offender-search website shows 4 within a mile radius of that location, but nothing suggesting a cluster.) She does acknowledge that sometimes they “make a mess” – she and her husband have three dogs – but “we pick it up.”
As of our conversation tonight, nobody had yet to carry out the note’s threats. And she says it’s apparently on police’s radar, as officers came by earlier to check in. (Making threats like those in the note is a crime.) But for now, she asks for a little tolerance: “We’re not trying to be out here – we just have nowhere else to go.”
ADDED 2:38 PM TUESDAY: Just saw this in the SPD report summaries:
On 02-20-2023 in the early morning hours, a victim heard a noise outside his RV and observed an unidentified subject placing something on vehicle windshields. The victim was able to obtain some evidence but could not identify the subject. The victim later discovered the item was a note which referenced the RV owners’ housing status. The letter continued with threats to damage the vehicles, among other threats. The victim called 911 to report the incident. A total of four victims were identified and had all received the same letter. Patrol attempted to contact a suspect at his home but did not receive an answer. Bias crimes notifications were made.
The incident # is 23-048910.
5:20 PM: Thanks for the tips. As of about half an hour ago, Seattle Public Utilities is handling a water problem on Puget Ridge. It’s centered near 17th/Myrtle, according to SPU’s map. Though the map also projects a restoration time of 10 pm, we offer the same caveat as in power outages – those estimates are really just guesses, so could be much sooner or much later. If you’re having trouble and you’re not in the area shown on the map, call SPU at 206-386-1800 and be sure they know you’re affected too.
7:39 PM: We went to Puget Ridge and tried to find any SPU crews working around 17th/Myrtle; no luck. Water in the street, more than would be residual from the last round of rain, was in evidence on Myrtle between 16th and 17th, though.
It’s the only “edible park” in West Seattle – Puget Ridge Edible Park – and it’s right here on the peninsula. A recent arrival to Puget Ridge who has been chronicling her family’s journeys on YouTube, Melissa Smith, discovered PREP (18th SW and SW Brandon) and wanted to tell its story. After she sent us the link to the resulting video (embedded above), we asked her for the backstory about her storytelling:
Since summer 2022, we have been traveling by van across the West Coast from Santa Cruz, California, where I first converted a 1/10 acre property into a micro food forest. As former middle-school science teachers, my husband and I decided to pursue our dream to start a regenerative farm and are now on the road searching for where to buy land and immerse ourselves in a community with our farm and education center.
In late October, we decided to settle for the winter and looked around the Seattle area. We fell in love with West Seattle after experiencing the Halloween bash downtown. We found a furnished space to rent and have started to explore areas locally. I just so happened to walk by PREP and immediately fell in love. I met Stu [Hennessey] and asked if it would be possible to share all he and this community have done to create such a powerful place.
It is a dream to help others create similar spaces like PREP in their communities.
PREP itself is the fruition of a dream dating back into the ’00s, finally funded in the ’10s by the city Parks Levy Opportunity Fund, transformed and maintained by community volunteers,
Back in October, we reported on Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, who had been South Seattle College president for four years, becoming Seattle Colleges interim chancellor. Now SSC has announced its new interim president:
Dr. Jean Hernandez, an educational leader with nearly four decades of experience, has joined South Seattle College as interim president through the current academic year. The position opened when Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, SSC’s former president, became interim chancellor of the Seattle Colleges District.
Hernandez retired from Edmonds College with the title of president emeritus in 2017 after serving seven years as president. She has earlier connections to SSC, including serving as vice president of instruction and a prior stint as interim president in 2010. More recently, Hernandez has supported SSC in improving student success as a Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Guided Pathways coach.
“I have experienced the heart and soul of South Seattle College and am honored to serve as interim president and offer a sturdy bridge to continue the many exceptional educational and community services that we offer,” said Hernandez. “I am passionate about the college’s collective impact on student lives through educational programs that lead to high-wage employment, career mobility and flourishing communities.”
Over a 37-year career, Hernandez has extensive experience at both community colleges and universities. She is known as a student success champion who is strongly committed to removing barriers for students from K-12 through their higher education years. In particular, she has worked to advance women in the STEM fields, address education reform for students who are in prison, and developed successful partnerships with both industry and community organizations.
“As a first-generation college graduate and Latina, I can identify with the diverse backgrounds of many of our students, and I am proud to work with colleagues who are committed to changing lives on a daily basis. South Seattle is the community’s college, enriching its growth with a talented, trained workforce,” said Hernandez. “We are dedicated to uplifting our surrounding communities, including West Seattle, White Center, Burien, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley and beyond.”
Hernandez holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas, as well as a Doctor of Education from the University of Washington. Since 2018, she has worked as a leadership coach for Achieving the Dream and a guided pathways coach for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She currently serves on the Western Governors University Washington Advisory Board, Junior Achievement Washington Board, and University of Colorado Denver, School of Education Program Advisory Committee.
South Seattle College’s main campus is on Puget Ridge in West Seattle, with a satellite campus in Georgetown.
Puget Ridge Edible Park (18th/Brandon) is an ongoing neighborhood collaboration and demonstration of what could be achieved in many more neighborhoods – a step toward true community sustainability by growing food. The project is already supported by many volunteer hours. Now it’s time to seek monetary donations too – with a specific goal: Catching more rainwater to use during the dry season. Longtime sustainability advocate Stu Hennessey explains:
This year, the Puget Ridge Edible Park produced a large quantity of produce to feed over 40 families that come regularly for harvesting and many more that harvest from our free farmstand. This year we would like to expand our demonstration for rain harvesting to use less municipal water. This example of resilience is a big part of our mission.
All over our nation, water supplies are becoming scarce. Without water, crops will fail. There is plenty of water available during the year, just not during our growing and harvest season. Last summer in Seattle, from June 21st to September 21st, we received 0.5 inches of rain. October was also the driest and warmest on record, with a fall season record-high temperature of 88 degrees on October 16th. Rain harvesting is the only way to offset the effects of our changing climate. We hope our efforts will be an example of resilience for the future.
To collect water during our rainy season, we need to build an overhead structure to fill our 2 current cisterns at the cost of $2,000. We would also like to expand our water collection by installing a 3,000-gallon Norwesco cistern, which costs $2500 plus $500 for delivery. Rainwater harvesting is very important, and gardens thrive on the natural water free of chlorines and fluorides which are meant to kill essential soil bacteria and microbes. Rain harvesting is the future of farming.
If you can donate, here’s where to go.
West Seattle’s booming wine scene now has the full participation of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Northwest Wine Academy once again, after more than two years. It’s reopening to the public tomorrow – here’s the announcement:
South Seattle College and the Northwest Wine Academy (NWWA) are excited to announce the NWWA Tasting Room, Wine Bar and Retail Store is reopening on Nov. 4, 2022. Hours of operation will be 1-6 p.m. on most Fridays and Saturdays.
The tasting room has been closed for the past few years, and NWWA looks forward to welcoming the community once again to share amazing local, student-produced wines.
We are also pleased to introduce the Academy’s new Winemaker and Winemaking Instructor John Darin to the program and community. Darin’s extensive background in winemaking and cellar logistics has been developed after years of working with a diverse spectrum of grape varietals and winemaking practices. His experience, as well as his time working with many industry leaders, brings critical first-hand knowledge from the winemaking industry directly to the classroom.
Hours and dates of operation
The Northwest Wine Academy Tasting Room, Wine Bar and Retail Store is open again as of Nov. 4, 2022! Hours of operations will be (most) Fridays and Saturdays, 1-6 p.m.
November: Open Nov. 4-5; 12; 18-19 (closed Nov. 25-26 for the holidays)
December: Open Dec. 2-3; 9-10; 16-17 (closed the remainder of the month and reopening in January)
Please note: At this time only credit and debit cards are accepted for purchases
The NWWA is on the north side of the SSC campus (6000 16th SW) – look for it on the east side of the north parking lot.
12:43 AM: Seattle Fire has a “scenes of violence” response on the way to the 5200 block of 17th SW, where a man in his 30s is reported to have a gunshot wound to the back. No information yet on circumstances.
1:03 AM: Still no further information. Emergency-radio traffic has been usurped by an unrelated major incident on I-5 in North Seattle, so we might not be able to find out more until later this morning.
1:39 AM: Police now say the man died. They are canvassing nearby residences for security video.
2:27 AM: Still awaiting details. The last deadly shooting in West Seattle was in June, when 56-year-old Anthony Gonzalez was killed in a tent at 26th/Juneau. His accused killer was arrested and charged days later.
3:02 AM: Here’s all police are saying about what happened this morning:
At 12:22 a.m., police responded to the 5200 block of 17th Avenue SW for reports of shots heard. Officers arrived and found a man with a gunshot wound inside a residence. Police and Seattle Fire Department medics attempted lifesaving measures, but medics declared the man deceased at the scene.
Members of SPD’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to process the scene for evidence.
Homicide Detectives also responded and will lead the ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information about this incident should call the Violent Crimes Tip Line at (206) 233-5000.
8 AM: Police were still at the scene 7+ hours after the shooting.
Thanks for the tips. We went over to the 16th/Graham RV-encampment area a short time ago after reports of a large police response. There, the officers described it as a “person in crisis” situation. It was originally dispatched as a report of “threats.” No other details so far.
P.S. A neighbor with whom we spoke sent us this photo of signage indicating the “remediation” this week will be followed by a sweep on Thursday:
Parking-enforcement officers were out a short time ago at the 16th SW RV encampment, where many of the vehicles are now marked with the distinctive orange warning tags.
We had gone to check the area because a commenter on our most-recent update said City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office had told them remediation was scheduled for today, though the city’s homelessness-response spokesperson had told us only that a team was “inspecting” the area last week. No-parking signs in the area are up for today through next Monday, with “remediation” noted on the attached explanatory sheets.
This stretch of 16th SW, with South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) to the east and houses to the west, is one of the areas where the number of vehicles has increased since other RV-encampment areas in West Seattle were cleared.
TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: As we noted in a comment below, the notices that precede sweeps are posted in the area (see photo in this story), warning that personal belongings need to be gone by Thursday morning.
After recent sweeps of other areas, 16th SW near South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) remains one of the larger RV-encampment areas in West Seattle. As of this morning, half a dozen RV/camper vehicles were parked alongside the campus, with two more just north of it, and the encampment included other vehicles such as several box trucks and a van.
The area was discussed during last month’s HPAC meeting. We’ve been trying to get an official city status report and finally received a response from homelessness-response communications manager Linda Robson, who told us, “Crews from SDOT are scheduled to inspect the (area) in the next few days to get an accurate assessment of the current conditions and determine the perimeter, and that inspection will be used to determine next steps.” She says no timeline estimate is possible because “the Unified Care Team calendar is very fluid and the teams are working hard every day to respond to as many sites as they can.” Bottom line, apparently no action is imminent in this area.
Installed this week at 18th/Myrtle [map], just east of Sanislo Elementary, that’s the newest city-funded Art Interruptions work to appear in West Seattle. Thanks to Katie Kauffman for letting us publish her photos – she was there when artist Toka Valu was working with a crew to get the work in place:
The inscription at the north end of the mural explains:
“Lukia e Tenifa”
One of the most cherished ngatu (traditional Tongan mulberry bark paper cloth) motifs from Tonga is the Amoamo Kofe, loosely meaning “caressing bamboo.” Visually, Amoamo Kofe is often depicted to look like 4-5 consecutively larger diamond cutouts stacked on top of one another. This motif can be found on the larger shark and along the water swirls while Octopus displays a series of repeating diamond shapes common throughout Pasifika to represent strength and wisdom in times of conflict. Shark and Octopus continue to honor their peace pact today following their colossal struggle many generations ago.
If you are looking for something low-impact to do this afternoon, the Seattle Chinese Garden‘s Kite Festival is on until 5 pm. You can make a kite ..
fly yours and/or watch someone else fly theirs …
listen to guzheng music by Angell Li …
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 10, 2022
and enjoy the garden, which is on the north end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus at 6000 16th SW, just east of the Arboretum. ($5 suggested donation for entry.)
Summer’s not over yet! Another chance to enjoy music in a local park is happening one week from today.
That’s local folk musician Thaddeus Spae, who’ll be performing at Puget Ridge Edible Park next Saturday (September 10th). Got the announcement today from Stu Hennessey on behalf of the PREP crew. It’s a celebration of the harvest season at this local park devoted to growing food. All are welcome – to listen, dance, and/or just walk through the PREP gardens – starting at 3 pm nextSaturday, 5265 18th SW.