West Seattle, Washington
As changes in the Duwamish River cleanup plan have been proposed in recent months, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition at first offered information and urged community members to participate in the comment process. But now it’s turned up the pushback a few notches – including a community rally tonight in South Park.
After gathering at South Park Plaza, nearly 100 river supporters of all ages, with signs in many languages, walked up onto the South Park Bridge‘s pedestrian path.
As participants stood along the bridge, passing drivers – from scooters to industrial trucks – beeped their support.
DRCC’s executive director Paulina López, engagement manager Adrienne Hampton, and Superfund manager James Rasmussen got to the heart of the reason for the rally – holding government and industry accountable for keeping their cleanup commitment: “This is not just a river for Georgetown and South Park. This is a river for the whole city. … Imagine what it could be like when we get the reast of the job done.”
DRCC sounded the alarm because of what it calls a “triple threat” to the river – including proposed changes to allowable pollutant levels as well as proposed changes in the cleanup itself – all explained here. (We also covered one of the proposals here.)
Their decision for a more visible form of resistance appears to have already had results. This afternoon, hours before the rally, the city, county, and port announced a letter to the EPA urging that cleanup commitments be met. We asked López about the letter; she said she was glad to see more pressure on the EPA, because “they are not listening to us.” DRCC is hoping that will change with more voices – “stay involved, keep fighting … continue to advocate for the Duwamish River” was the request at rally’s end.
The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition wants to call attention to ongoing challenges to the river’s health as well as proposed changes in the ongoing cleanup, so it’s inviting you to a rally/walk by the river on Friday.
We are deeply concerned for the health of the Duwamish Valley communities as a result of proposed changes to how EPA and members of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group intend to clean up our Duwamish River. WITHOUT community consultation, EPA and these responsible parties recently proposed three changes to our river cleanup that increase toxic exposures and health risks to our community and undermine our hard-won river cleanup, which violates EPA’s and Ecology’s environmental justice policies, ignores our local governments’ stated commitments to equity, and threatens to further exacerbate pronounced health disparities that have been documented in our communities. The Duwamish River must be recovered to standards that support our community and fishing for future generations. We demand health justice, especially for community members who have been historically marginalized, silenced, and disproportionately burdened with the legacy pollutants that have given rise to this cleanup.
There’s more info here about what the DRCC calls the “triple threat.” The rally/walk is set for Friday (September 24th), starting at 5 pm, at South Park Plaza (14th Avenue S./Dallas Ave. S.; here’s a map). All ages welcome.
If you’re going to South Park for the Duwamish River Festival, stop by the new Duwamish River Community Hub just a block south at 14th Avenue South and South Cloverdale. The Port of Seattle has leased the former Napoli Pizza building as a center for various gatherings, inside as well as out:
Outside the Hub today, you’ll find Mercadito vendor booths as well as information booths including the port explaining the new People’s Park along the river nearby:
You can take a guided walking tour to the park at 4:30 pm. We covered the park groundbreaking at the former Terminal 117 a year ago.
Now until 5 pm, Seattle’s only river is being celebrated at the 2021 Duwamish River Festival. This time it’s at the future park space known as South Park Plaza, west of the South Park end of the bridge. Performances all afternoon! Here are Angeles de México:
And art (added: what you see below is the Duwamish River Dragon, by Cleopatra Cutler):
Dozens of educational booths so you can learn about the river and those who rely on it – and what you can do to protect it (such as, gardening with native plants). Food trucks and stands, also featuring local restaurants.
ADDED 4:47 PM: A few more scenes from the festival, which is presented by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
That’s Carmen Martinez of DRCC, who leads the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps, with Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz.
Since it’s Thursday, we’re looking ahead to a few of this weekend’s major events. First: The 15th Duwamish River Festival is back, on Saturday afternoon (August 7th), celebrating Seattle’s only river. This year, it’s at South Park Plaza (8456 Dallas Ave. S.), next to the west end of the South Park Bridge. The free festival, coordinated by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, begins at noon, with a welcoming ceremony by the Duwamish Tribe planned for 12:10 pm, followed by a full schedule of music, dance, and spoken-word performances – Joyas Mestizas are up first at 12:15 pm, Chaotic Noise Marching Corps wraps up the performances, at 4:30 pm. See the full schedule here. The festival will also offer dozens of educational booths, a vaccination/health clinic, job fair, kayaking trips, free trees, swap meet/flea market, and more.
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.
That’s a Mountain Bluebird, as seen by West Seattle photographer Mark Wangerin. He tells WSB, “Although rare on this side of the mountains, a few have been seen west of the Cascades in the past few weeks. There are 3 (all males) along the Duwamish by South Park. What a treat! I was going to go east of the mountains this week searching for them.” They are “the most migratory of the bluebirds,” Seattle Audubon explains here.
Two weekend road-work alerts from SDOT:
On Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4, crews will be replacing another set of concrete panels at the intersection of SW Henderson St and 9th Ave SW. This is additional work to what was started last week at this intersection.Some parking will be restricted nearby to allow two lanes of traffic to flow normally past the work zone. Traffic control and parking restrictions will remain in place until early on Monday, April 5, to allow the concrete time to fully harden. This work is weather permitting, and we will share updates if the schedule changes. If possible, we ask you to please plan your weekend travels accordingly to detour around this work and avoid the work areas.
On Saturday, April 3, crews will start installing speed humps in South Park. Crews will install a total of 18 speed humps in the neighborhood over the course of several weekends, starting with installing 3 to 4 of the speed humps this Saturday. The speed humps are being installed as part of the Reconnect West Seattle Home Zone in South Park to discourage speeding and cut-through traffic throughout the neighborhood. Work hours are approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We will put up “no park” signs near the speed hump locations in advance of the construction.
For some southeastern West Seattle residents, the nearest Seattle Public Library branch is in South Park (8604 8th Ave. S.), so we’re sharing the news that it’s the latest branch to add curbside service. Starting this weekend, the South Park Branch will offer it, noon-6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. That means you can pick up items you’ve put on hold, if this is set as your “home branch,” and you can use SPL’s curbside-printing service for up to 10 black-and-white pages a day. The branch’s book drop is open daily. The area branches that already offer curbside service are Southwest (9010 35th SW) and High Point (3411 SW Raymond); days and hours are listed here.
Thanks to Curtis for the photo from 8th Avenue South/South Chicago [map] in South Park, Per police-radio communication, a crane took out that pole, and it is affecting people beyond the immediate area – roads are closed for several blocks around, and the resulting power outage includes the light at West Marginal and South Holden, by a much-used ramp just south of the 1st Avenue South Bridge. No word of any injuries.
(WSB photo, 2014)
Six and a half years after it opened, the South Park Bridge is getting its first full mechanical/electrical inspection. King County Road Services announced today that the bridge will close for that inspection on two nights in December – Wednesday, December 9th, and Thursday, December 10th, 10:30 pm to 6 am both nights. The main detour those nights will be the nearby 1st Avenue South Bridge, but the West Seattle low bridge also will be open to all traffic as usual for all but the last hour of those windows.
8:33 PM: If you’re heading across the Duwamish River any time soon, don’t head for the South Park Bridge. The Every Day March protest group – same one that’s visited city councilmembers and others at their homes (as well as leading an Alki march last Saturday) – is currently blocking the bridge. They’ve hung banners off its sides, according to the livestream that’s up right now. The bridge is in King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction and deputies are visible in the traffic cam (framegrab added above) turning traffic away at the South Park end.
8:50 PM: Still there. According to the stream, the protesters – estimated by police at ~50 – are writing messages on the bridge deck.
9:33 PM: The Concrete Reports stream shows that the group is leaving the bridge, so it should reopen shortly.
One more South Park note: On Tuesday, after multiple reader tips, we mentioned King County Sheriff’s Office deputies were investigating a body found alongside the Duwamish River, by the bridge. The person who died, described by KCSO as a man in his early 40s, has not yet been publicly identified. But when we checked back with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott today, he told us that detectives now say, “As right now it does not appear criminal in nature, but it is still an active investigation.”
We’re continuing to spotlight ways to help neighbors affected by the pandemic, as well as ways to get help. This weekend, if you’re able to help, you can do it by shopping a big yard sale in South Park, coordinated by the Concord International Elementary PTA:
This weekend, September 19-20 [noon-6 pm both days], we are hosting a fundraiser to raise money for rent and utility assistance for Concord Elementary School families in the South Park neighborhood.
75% of Concord Elementary families live below the poverty line and many have not qualified for unemployment benefits during this pandemic.
During our last fundraiser yard sale in July, we raised just under $10,000, and every penny went to rent and utility assistance for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Thanks to the people who sent tips after seeing the recovery of a body along the Duwamish River by the South Park Bridge. That area is in unincorporated King County – known as the “sliver by the river” – so it’s a Sheriff’s Office case, confirms KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott. He says the person found dead was a man “in his early 40s” found onshore. KCSO Major Crimes Unit detectives are investigating, but Sgt. Abbott says they’re not expecting to have further comment until the Medical Examiner’s Office does an autopsy to find the cause of death.
In addition to the 44th SW road work this weekend that we’ve already previewed multiple times, SDOT has three more alerts:
ROADSIDE TREE TRIMMING: This may be happening along two stretches:
We are continuing our tree trimming work on West Seattle Bridge closure reroutes this weekend. This work is important to increase visibility and enhance safety. This Saturday and Sunday, August 22-23, we’ll work to complete tree trimming on SW Orchard St between Delridge Way SW and Dumar Way SW heading eastbound. If we’re able to finish that project, there is also some much-needed tree trimming to accomplish at the 6700 block of W Marginal Way SW, near Highland Park Way SW.
ALSO THIS WEEKEND, IN SOUTH PARK: This is along the main route to/from the South Park Bridge – note that it’ll continue next weekend, too:
Starting this weekend, August 22-23, a private contractor will begin working on S Cloverdale St between 10th Ave S and 12th Ave S to replace two large utility cuts in the road that are currently patched with asphalt. This work will continue for two consecutive weekends.
During this work, traffic will be down to a single lane. The contractor’s crews will be directing traffic in alternate directions. Crews will be at the site 24/7 during these weekends and people should expect delays. This work is weather dependent. The paving crews will use fast-setting concrete, which means that if all goes well, the road should be open for Monday morning traffic each week.
DELRIDGE CLOSURE NEXT WEEKEND: Early heads-up:
As a part of the Delridge Way SW RapidRide H Line project, all lanes of Delridge Way SW will be closed from SW Barton St to 18th Ave SW for up to 2 days beginning on Saturday, August 29. Delridge Way SW will be restricted to local access only from SW Henderson St to SW Roxbury St, but access to businesses in this area will be maintained. This closure will allow our team to connect a catch basin in the roadway. Please follow posted detour routes to 16th Ave SW. If you have any questions about this work, please contact DelridgeTransit@seattle.gov or 206-775-8739
This half-mile-long Duwamish River shore site, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held today for a future park, won’t exist once the project is done.
This is T-117, a Port of Seattle=owned former industrial site in South Park (map) put on the Superfund toxic-cleanup list in 2003, and now destined for restoration to its roots as a tidal marsh. Since big ceremonial crowds are out of the question, a small group of Port and community representatives gathered for today’s event, which the Port streamed live.
It’s an “extraordinary project,” enthused Paulina López, executive director of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.
DRCC has long been involved with this site (among others); this 2013 WSB story quoted one of her predecessors, describing early cleanup work at T-117. López spoke of the “hope” offered by the site’s transformation, both because it will open up more of the riverfront to a community with “limited public access,” and because the project also promises green job training, with opportunity for youth to learn how to work on habitat restoration and marine conservation.
Magdalena Angel-Cano, also with DRCC, embodies that opportunity – she joined the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps at age 13 and became a “first-generation college student.” She spoke of the need for a clear path for the community’s youth, so there can be more representation in the area’s industries, especially maritime.
The ceremony also included George Blomberg from the Port explaining what’ll happen at T-117.
The site’s elevation will be reduced to bring back the marsh; there’ll be an interpretive path, 8 viewpoints, a pier, and a hand-carry boat launch. Thousands of native plants will go into the ground. “This site has a memory,” observed Blomberg – a memory of its pre-industrial millennia – and that was affirmed by another speaker, Native storyteller/historian Roger Fernandes.
It’s a “powerful act” to see land like this returned to what it once was, Fernandes noted, before telling “The Changer Story.”
The changes here will take place over the next year and a half or so – more project details, and history, are here.
From Dayanne: “Between Thursday night 10 pm and Friday morning at 7 am my dad’s car was stolen from in front of our house on 8th and Sullivan [South Park]. Please keep an eye out for a black Lexus IS 250; the license plate number is BNF6031. It’s all black with tinted windows and has the same wheels as the picture – we don’t have an exact picture of the car, but it looks identical to the one (here).” Call 911 if you see it.
South Park isn’t waiting for SDOTs “mitigation plan” to take action to try to slow down traffic detouring through the neighborhood because of the West Seattle Bridge closure. The photos were sent by Robin Schwartz, who explains:
Folks are VERY concerned with speeding, especially on side streets. We are working on immediate/free actions to raise awareness and impede speeding. The (next) photo is a planter put up in “bump-out/curb bulb” at 5-way intersection [just southwest of the bridge]. Cars and trucks have begun driving right through it so we are trying to block it. The rest of the pictures are “slow down” signs that we will put putting up around the neighborhood on Saturday.
South Park is one of the areas that will get a list of projects to vote on starting July 6th as part of a “neighborhood traffic-mitigation plan” related to the WS Bridge closure – the other three are Georgetown, SODO, and Highland Park/Roxhill/South Delridge/Riverview.
P.S. Here’s what South Park neighborhood advocates requested in a letter to the city two months ago.
Again this week, Food Lifeline is offering free emergency food boxes to anyone who shows up. From the announcement:
The standard emergency food boxes each contain 22-25 lbs of shelf-stable food items like canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, non-meat protein items, and bread and grains. There will also be fresh produce and select dairy items for those attending the distributions. (While supplies last)
Those wishing to take home boxes can receive a drive-up no-touch distribution, and there will also be walk-up distribution …
Food Lifeline – 815 South 96th Street (2 this week)
Wednesday, June 17, at 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 19, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
FULL SCHEDULE: foodlifeline.org
ANYONE can have access to this food. This is a confidential distribution, so there will be no paperwork or qualification. Food Lifeline is only asking for zip codes to track its efforts.
Food Lifeline encourages everyone to take home this nutritious food. We are all struggling during this crisis, and no one should hesitate to accept this help.
Announced today by Seattle Public Utilities – the reduced schedule at transfer stations is over:
Seattle Public Utilities’ North and South Transfer Stations are open (as of June 15, 2020) normal operating hours, seven days a week from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. We want to thank our customers for understanding that while the stations are operating at their normal schedule, that visits to the stations should be for essential trips only (urgent and perishable waste) in an effort to reduce potential spread of COVID-19.
From Food Lifeline in South Park:
Food Lifeline announced today that it will continue to distribute thousands of emergency food boxes to anyone needing help keeping food on the table during this crisis.
Food Lifeline – 815 South 96th Street (Two this week)
*Wednesday, May 20th, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
*Friday, May 22, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This schedule is also available on the homepage of foodlifeline.org
ANYONE can have access to this food. This is a confidential distribution, so there will be no paperwork or qualification. Food Lifeline is only asking for zip codes to track its efforts.
Here’s a map to FL’s South Park location.
We’ve been so busy spotlighting other ways to help, we haven’t had a chance to mention the South Park Arts AID auction until now – but it’s not too late; you still have a full day left to bid!
Last month, the reality of our situation began to sink in, and the pandemic was hitting artists especially hard. For so many, their livelihood relies on human interaction, and the government support was unreliable or nonexistent. South Park Arts wanted to help. The tight-knit community had weathered many storms together, and this was no different. The obvious solution was to buy lots of art. This auction features those pieces. So when you buy this work, you’re supporting not only the artist but you’re refilling the reserves of an art organization to provide for future assistance.
What – an amazing online art auction of painting, photography, collage, home goods, watercolor, letterpress, sculpture, stained glass, even body armor. Yes, body armor.
Who – featuring talented SPArtsAID recipients
When – Through Monday, May 11th at 7:30 PM
Where – from the comfort of your home
How – Go to www.auctria.com/auction/SPArtsAid to bid on the pieces.
Why – Because we could all use some beauty and community right now.