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Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition announces Paulina López as executive director

A big announcement tonight from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:

As we move into the new year, DRCC/TAG is excited to announce that Paulina López will be our new executive director, effective January 1, 2019.

Our coordinator, James Rasmussen, is stepping into a new, part-time, technical lead role within the organization as he moves toward retirement in a few years. James has truly been an inspiration for his work on the river. He has provided a powerful voice for the river, wonderful leadership for the organization, and has always strived to put the community first. With James at its helm, the organization has grown and thrived. We are not only very thankful that he will continue to provide insight and guidance to DRCC/TAG but also thrilled that he will be able to ensure that the EPA RoundTable and other initiatives will be responsive to community needs and vision.

Originally from Ecuador, Paulina has made Seattle her home over the past 15 years and has been with DRCC/TAG for eight years. Paulina has over 25 years of experience working with issues of civil rights, social justice, equity, education, and diversity. She has and continues to demonstrate commitment and engagement in the community through the advocacy of multiple important civic policies including access to a safe, clean environment for families in the area. Paulina has worked on numerous initiatives and campaigns that have focused on building political power and advancing policies related to issues surrounding race, immigration, the environment, and social justice. She has thrived by pushing for inclusive processes that place those most impacted and affected by issues of inequity and injustice at the center of decision-making.

Paulina created and co-led our Duwamish Valley Youth Corps Program and worked as a Community Engagement Director, advocating for community members to participate in the complex cleanup process and to have a voice. She has served as an expert on the City of Seattle’s Equity and Environment Agenda, Port of Seattle’s Near Port EJ Project, Equity Cabinet of the King County Land Conservation, and on Public Health Seattle and King County’s Health Impact Assessment, among others. Paulina is passionate about community engagement and advocacy for human rights issues especially for underrepresented communities and the issues that affect them. Paulina graduated from St. Thomas University with an LLM, Master of Law in Intercultural Human Rights. She has been an organizer, advocate, full-time volunteer and the mother of three boys under the age of 13.

“My eight years working at DRCC have been an incredible journey and I’m excited to take this next step. When I first got to know this organization, I was impressed by the deep history of the work, the clarity and vision to advocate for environmental justice issues. Also, most of all the inspiring people giving so much of their time to engage the most impacted in my own neighborhood of South Park. It has been an honor to serve here and one of the most important experiences of my life where I learned to appreciate existing networks and bring peoples’ voices to complex systems of government. I look forward to continuing to work together for justice and equity to mobilize resources for the Duwamish Valley as we build collective power to make our community, our cultures, and our ecosystem thrive. Together we will continue our unique and powerful legacy” — Paulina López

We are elated to make this announcement and look forward to the continued growth of DRCC/TAG building on the hard work of James, Paulina, and all of the staff, board, community advisory committee, volunteers and most importantly neighbors and community members.

2 local opportunities to talk with Seattle Public Schools’ new superintendent Denise Juneau

October 8, 2018 3:27 pm
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 |   Delridge | South Park | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

New Seattle Public Schools superintendent Denise Juneau‘s “listening tour” now has two local stops:

-This Wednesday (October 10th), she’ll be at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW) for a 6 pm town hall with students, followed by a 7 pm community-wide town hall.

-On October 18th, she’ll be at Concord International Elementary in South Park (723 S. Concord), 6-8 pm, for an event that the co-sponsoring Concord PTA tells us will be “conducted in Spanish with English translation.” Child care and dinner provided.

(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand – Superintendent Juneau at 9/4/18 Roxhill @ EC Hughes ribboncutting)

PHOTOS: Fiestas Patrias 2018 parade fills South Park streets with fun and pride

(Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand, unless otherwise credited)

It was a community-wide, continent-spanning celebration in South Park this morning as 2018 Fiestas Patrias parade participants danced, walked, rolled, and rode. The Latino Riders were on two wheels – sometimes one:

The Easy Duz It car club was a parade on its own, on four wheels and sometimes two:

The parade also featured the original kind of horsepower:

Lots of music, including Mariachi Huenachi from Wenatchee:

Joyas Mestizas, who you might have seen in the West Seattle Grand Parade, was another participating folklorico group:

Other groups represented individual Latin American nations, including El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Here’s the Grand Marshal, United States District Court Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez of the Western District:

Another dignitary – newly confirmed Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best:

In the SPD entourage accompanying the chief was Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, whose jurisdiction includes South Park:

Local schools were in the parade too, including West Seattle’s own Denny International Middle School, whose principal Jeff Clark sent photos and a report:

Congratulations to all of the Denny scholars and staff who proudly represented their culture and school marching in the annual Fiestas Patrias parade in South Park today!

Thanks to Mr. Albanes, Mr. Garcia, and Ms. Olsen, the Dolphins had the chance to show great leadership and pride as they waved to family and friends lining the streets of South Park. This parade is always a highlight of the year — this year, the tradition was as strong as ever! Go Dolphins!

Our photographer spotted the principal photographing the group:

South Park’s own Concord International (Elementary) also walked the parade route. The Fiestas Patrias parade is presented by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, whose headquarters in South Park were the start of the route, which ended at South Park Community Center, site of an afternoon-long festival and health fair.

SATURDAY: 2018 Fiestas Patrias parade, festival in South Park

(WSB photo from 2017 Fiestas Patrias parade in South Park)

In case you haven’t peeked ahead to the weekend via the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – Saturday brings a big late-summer parade: This year’s Fiestas Patrias parade in South Park. The parade and festival afterward are presented by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, which explain:

Seattle Fiestas Patrias commemorates the independence of Latin American countries, many of which celebrate their national independence day in the month of September. Sea Mar Community Health Center festivals are held at both Seattle Center and the South Park neighborhood of Seattle to celebrate the Latino community living in the Pacific Northwest.

Fiestas Patrias is an expression of Latino culture: music, dance, food, folklore and many other traditions that have accumulated over the centuries. This is a fiesta to celebrate our history while taking pride in the new generations of Latinos that now call the United States home.

The parade starts at 11 am Saturday (September 15th), with Chief United States District Judge Ricardo Martinez as Grand Marshal. See the route here (PDF), leading from Sea Mar to the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.), where the community festival begins at 1 pm.

VIDEO: Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best’s swearing-in tour stops in Southwest Precinct territory

As Mayor Jenny Durkan did last fall, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best took her oath of office multiple times today. One ceremony was in Southwest Precinct territory, at the South Park Community Center, after the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums opened the ceremony:

Chief Best’s other ceremonies were at City Hall and at the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District. Here’s her bio; she’s been with SPD for 26 years.

South Park swearing-in ceremony Tuesday for Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best

(August 7th photo courtesy SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner)

Newly confirmed Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best was in South Park two weeks ago for Night Out, and she will return tomorrow for one of three swearing-in ceremonies around the city. Here’s the announcement from the mayor’s office:

On Tuesday, August 21, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best will participate in three swearing-in ceremonies, including a large community ceremony at the Northwest African American Museum.

Last week, City Council confirmed Chief Carmen Best, who is a 26-year member of the Seattle Police Department. Best was integral in helping the department navigate the Federal Consent Decree, eventually leading to “full and effective” compliance. She is the first African American woman to lead the Seattle Police Department in its 149-year history.

When: Tuesday, August 21 at 11:30 am
Where: Ceremony in Bertha Knight Landes at City Hall, located at 600 4th Avenue

When: Tuesday, August 21 at 1:00 pm
Where: South Park Community Center, located at 8319 8th Avenue S

When: Tuesday, August 21 at 4:30 pm (reception immediately following ceremony)
Where: Northwest African American Museum, located at 2300 S Massachusetts St

HAPPENING NOW: Fun ways to learn @ Duwamish River Festival

August 18, 2018 3:33 pm
|    Comments Off on HAPPENING NOW: Fun ways to learn @ Duwamish River Festival
 |   Environment | South Park | West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news

Still time to get to this year’s Duwamish River Festival (at Duwamish Waterway Park, 7900 10th Ave. S., until 5 pm), where you can learn about the river by getting out onto it, or talking to people about it.

That’s James Rasmussen, coordinator of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, from whom we found out there’s a community meeting Wednesday about June’s barge fire on the river. (More on that in a separate story.) Along with information, the festival is also a cultural celebration:

Dancers from the Somali Youth Community Center were onstage while we were there – we published the full entertainment lineup in today’s daily highlights list. They were followed by Vietnamese community performers, including a dancer who specializes in cha-cha:

And the many organizations and city departments there include Seattle Parks, with some hands-on education about river wildlife:

Go learn, play, and watch!

‘Rowing on the Duwamish is alive and well!’ 3rd annual Dieter Hotz Regatta

(Junior doubles’ race. Photo courtesy Duwamish Rowing Club)

The Duwamish Rowing Club reports it was a beautiful day for their 3rd annual Dieter Hotz Regatta. Sarah Blum sent the report and photos from the July 21st event:

Entries from Eastside Prep, Lake Union and Lake Washington clubs rounded out the field with singles, doubles, coxed and coxless quads, plus coxed fours took off about every ten – fifteen minutes to race up the 1000-meter course to cheering crowds in the park overlooking the finish line. There were both youth and master’s races throughout the morning. Rowing on the Duwamish is alive and well!

It was a youth rower from Eastside Prep that took the coveted Boeing trophy for her race in a single scull.

Lake Union Crew took the overall points win for the Dieter Hotz trophy and a good time was had by all.

One of the most exciting races was the coxless quad race between Lake Union and DRC (Duwamish Rowing Club).

As the boats neared the finish line Lake Union was in the lead, the crowd was cheering on the DRC boat and in the sprint they passed the LUC boat by about 8 inches at the finish.

Anyone can learn to row. DRC had learn-to-row classes through June and one of the new rowers, Matt White, raced in the master’s four like a pro. Matt’s daughter is in the youth program at DRC.

Winners of the ECOSS trophy for 2018 was the Lake Union Crew:

The DRC is our area’s only rowing club, based in South Park but also serving West Seattle and other communities along and near the Duwamish River.

Head over heels for Lucha Libre Volcánica’s South Park visit

It’s becoming a summertime tradition – a Duwamish Waterway Park exhibition by Lucha Libre Volcánica, the Renton-based troupe specializing in Mexican-style masked-wrestling – and the luchadores were there today during the Water Festival.

The performers are usually heroes or villains – during our ringside visit, we saw heroes …

And villains:

When all was said, done, thrown, and pinned …

… the heroes won. As did the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, sponsor of the Water Festival, which continued into the evening.

Duwamish Rowing Club’s annual Dieter Hotz Rowing Regatta: Spectators welcome Saturday!

(WSB photo by Leda Costa, from 2017 regatta)

Our area’s only rowing club invites you to its biggest annual event on Saturday! The Duwamish Rowing Club is hosting its third Dieter Hotz Rowing Regatta at Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park, 8 am-2 pm:

All are invited to this free event which features singles, doubles, fours, and quads from Duwamish Rowing and small clubs in the area, e.g. Eastside Prep. Renton Rowing, Lake Stevens and more.

Races will include youth from all the clubs and masters (adults of all ages). Boats will launch from Duwamish Waterway Park at 10th and Elmgrove in South Park, and spectators can view the finish line of the 1000 meter races at 12th and Elmgrove.

Here’s a map to the park.

FOLLOWUP: $2.2 million bail for suspect in South Park teen murder

(WSB photo from February)

The suspect in February’s South Park murder of a 16-year-old boy was arrested in the area where it happened. That’s part of what we’ve learned from the probable-cause documents made public this morning in connection with 27-year-old Juan J. Macias‘s bail hearing. As we noted in the report on his arrest, he was already wanted on a $250,000 warrant after being charged in June with assaulting his girlfriend. The new documents say officers saw him Saturday evening at the Chevron station on 14th Avenue S. in South Park – same one in our photo, above, from the night of the shooting – and recognized him from a bulletin about that warrant. He was in the driver’s seat of a red Impala that they discovered had been stolen in Kent; the report says its engine was running and that officers found two “large fixed-blade knives” and two hatchets in the car. It does not say what led police to identify Macias as a suspect in the murder, but attributes that description to detectives. He is due back in court tomorrow afternoon, by which time there may be a charging decision in the case. Meantime, he’s being held in lieu of $2,250,000 bail.

FOLLOWUP: Arrest in South Park teen murder

(WSB photo, February rally/march)

12:46 PM: Seattle Police have announced an arrest in the February murder of a 16-year-old boy in South Park. This was the deadly shooting that brought more than 100 people to a rally/march for peace days later. While the suspect is not yet charged in the murder, he is also jailed in connection with a $250,000 warrant in a case where charges have been filed, so we are publishing his name: 27-year-old Juan J. Macias. In the other case, he was charged in June with choking his girlfriend unconscious. We are checking with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to see if he is due for a bail hearing today; police say they arrested him in South Park on Saturday.

6:30 PM: Macias did have a bail hearing this afternoon. We don’t have documents yet but the jail register shows his bail now upped to $2,250,000.

UPDATE: West Seattle High School student killed in crash at 99/509/Cloverdale

11:21 PM: The State Patrol and other agencies are dealing with a deadly one-vehicle crash at the Cloverdale overpass where 509/99 meet – avoid the area. The crash brought down a big sign – see the WSP-tweeted photo above – and Trooper Rick Johnson says that’ll mean a long closure on the NB side. More as we get it.

11:39 PM: Thanks to the reader who texted this wider view:

A nearby resident says the driver hit the pole at high speed. [map]

12:49 AM: Still closed.

7:30 AM: As noted elsewhere, NB is still closed as crews deal with the sign. SB reopened overnight. Meantime, WSP’s media update says the driver was a 17-year-old Seattle resident.

UPDATE: The 99/509 crash scene has reopened as of 8:33 am.

2:26 PM: Seattle Public Schools has confirmed what was first reported in comments below – that the victim was a West Seattle High School student. Here’s the letter WSHS principal Brian Vance has just sent to families:

Dear West Seattle High School families,

It is with a heavy heart that I share the tragic news that one of our students, Jonathan Teso-Rueda was killed in a car accident on Thursday night. Jonathan was a bright, talented and well-liked student at West Seattle High School. His sense of humor and big, caring heart will be missed. As a community, I know we will come together to not only support Jonathan’s family, but one another.

We will have counselors available at West Seattle High School on Monday, July 9 from 9 am-12 pm for students needing support or wanting to be with their friends on campus.

When someone dies, particularly suddenly, it’s normal for children and teens to have different kinds of feelings and reactions. Parents and guardians have important roles in helping students understand about death.

Here are some suggestions for how to help students

• Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.
• Remain calm and reassuring. Students take their cues from their parents and adults.
• Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
• Be especially loving and supportive; children and teens need you even more at this time.

We recognize that even if your student may not have known or been close to Jonathan, or his family, he/she may still feel a strong reaction. We also realize this may be your student’s first experience with death or it may trigger feelings about other deaths your child may have experienced. This is an opportunity for students and families to acknowledge their grief and express their feelings about a sudden loss for which they have no control over.

Please take care and we will share information about any events to support students, staff and families if and/or when they become available.

Brian Vance
West Seattle High School

Library to Business: Free help for local entrepreneurs

May 15, 2018 11:34 am
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 |   Delridge | High Point | South Park | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

Running a small business? And/or launching one? The Seattle Public Library has free consultation appointments open starting soon for its Library to Business program. Librarian Nancy Slote, who’s part of the L2B team, explains, “We help research business questions, particularly with market research. The library has great subscription databases, available in the branches and remotely, with a library card, which can provide consumer buying data and identify competitors and market trends. We meet with entrepreneurs in all stages of business development, from people with an idea, to those writing business plans, to those operating businesses.” They have appointments at the Delridge, High Point, and South Park branches – this flyer shows the day/time windows, and the number(s) to call to get yourself set up to go in for help (or, Nancy says, you can schedule via e-mail at

Mayor visiting South Park tomorrow for community roundtable

(WSB photo, February)

Three months after she joined the peace vigil/march in South Park, the mayor returns to SP tomorrow afternoon.

As part of her ongoing effort to bring City Hall to all Seattle communities, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan will host a roundtable with South Park community leaders to discuss ongoing and new City initiatives in South Park. Mayor Durkan will be joined by representatives of the Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Office of Sustainability and the Environment, and Seattle Police Department, who will be able to answer questions and provide resources to the community.

“South Park is a diverse and vibrant home to many young people, families, and small businesses, but it also demonstrates our City’s need for equitable investment in economic empowerment, public safety, and better basic services,” said Mayor Durkan. “Through collaboration with community leaders, we are going to tackle the tough challenges facing South Park and create more opportunity for our young people.”

She’s scheduled to be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.) at 3 pm Thursday.

If you’re hearing the sirens: 2 South Park house fires in 2 hours

May 2, 2018 3:50 am
|    Comments Off on If you’re hearing the sirens: 2 South Park house fires in 2 hours
 |   South Park | West Seattle fires | West Seattle news

(Smoke from 2nd South Park fire, seen from West Seattle, tweeted by @WestSeaWX)

3:50 AM: You might be hearing the sirens, especially from southeast West Seattle: Seattle Fire is at the scene of a fully involved house fire in the 9300 block of 7th Avenue South, less than two hours after another South Park house fire, in the 1200 block of S. Cloverdale (less than a mile apart).

4:03 AM: Per monitored radio communication, SFD has just called the 7th Avenue S. fire “defensive” – too dangerous to be inside the structure.

ADDED: Here’s the SFD wrapup about both fires.

Police search after crash between West Seattle and South Park

If you notice police activity just southwest of the 1st Avenue South Bridge, in the area between West Seattle and South Park, here’s what it’s about, according to scanner traffic: Police are looking for a suspect who is reported to have run away after crashing a vehicle near Highland Park Way SW/2nd SW. (added) A K-9 team has joined the search in the brushy areas alongside the highway.

READER REPORT: Duwamish Rowing Club’s winning evening

April 8, 2018 7:16 pm
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 |   South Park | West Seattle news | WS & Sports

Thanks to Sarah Blum for the report and photos from one of the events spotlighted here on Saturday:

Saturday night, April 7th was the seventh annual Duwamish Rowing Club FUNdraiser and not only was it a fun event that drew in a crowd of supporters, but it offered many prizes.

From a day on the King Gustav yacht owned by head coach Mike Merta and his wife Sherry Toy, to an Island Escape on Bainbridge Island that included a two-hour sail and dinner + a basket of wine and other goodies, and many other prizes in the raffle and silent auction.

Thanks to Sherry for the amazing chili and cornbread, Flying Fish for the great beers, and the youth team for the scrumptious desserts.

One of the highlights of the night was the interview done by Marcie Sillman of KUOW with Bill Tytus, from his rowing and coaching days to designing rowing shells to his ownership of Pocock Racing Shells. One memorable moment was his focus on finding the magical “swing” while rowing.

As advertised, it was a fun event that raised much needed monies to support the club’s growing youth and learn-to-row programs. Contact the club through
DRC is based on the Duwamish River in South Park; the Saturday night event was held just up the hill at Highland Park Improvement Club.

YOU CAN HELP! Concord fundraiser – ‘a really good deal’ – 2 weeks away

Concord International (Elementary) School is in South Park, but is part of Seattle Public Schools‘ southwest cluster, and has West Seattle kids in attendance. It’s also a school where three in four kids qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch. The Concord PTA is hoping people all around our area will support their upcoming fundraising auction, now less than two weeks away – Saturday, March 24th:

We have some very cool auction items to bid on – a week in Mexico, 3 month gym membership, a signed Sounders jersey, a private dinner by famous chef Young Cho. Your ticket purchase of $25 includes dinner as well as 2 drink tickets, which is a really good deal.

The event is set for 6-9 pm March 24th at South Park Community Center (8201 10th Ave. S.) and you can buy tickets right here, right now.

CLOSURE ALERT: Seattle Public Library locations closed March 7th

Now that this is less than a week away – in case you haven’t already heard, the city library system has a one-day closure coming up next Wednesday:

All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at Central Library will be closed Wednesday, March 7 for a staff in-service day. Regular operating hours will resume Thursday, March 8.

West Seattle has four library branches, and South Park’s library is just a bit to the east. The map and list of all SPL locations citywide is here.

VIDEO: March for Peace spotlights hope and love for ‘the new South Park’

Tonight’s March for Peace in South Park was not a march to protest, complain, or oppose, organizers stressed as more than 100 people gathered outside the SP Library before it began. It was to envision what neighbors want South Park to be, to have.

The catalyzing event was what neighbors want South Park to NOT have … violence. Two nights ago, a 16-year-old boy was critically injured by a shooter who has yet to be caught. That was one week after a shooting that injured two men. The two incidents are unrelated, police told us, yet both left people in South Park determined not to go back to the way things were long ago. With that determination, hope, and love, “this is the new South Park,” organizers declared.

With bicycle officers riding alongside, and police at every cross-street, marchers walked on eastbound Cloverdale and southbound 14th.

They carried signs, some made outside the library minutes before the march began.

And when their silence was finally broken, as the march ended at the service station near the scene of Wednesday’s shooting at 14th/Trenton, first it was by music, some softly singing along to “Lean on Me”:

Then, there were words of support, urging the youth in the crowd to know everyone was there to support them – and there were many young participants there to hear the message:

Also there, dignitaries who took care not to hold the spotlight for long, if at all. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best had a few words before the march began.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold did not take the microphone

Nor did Councilmember Lorena González:

Both councilmembers have worked to advocate for increased safety resources for South Park; Herbold wrote about it again in her weekly online update hours before the march. But first – a young man remains in the hospital, and before the gathering ended, organizers requested prayers and thoughts for his recovery.

NEIGHBORS FOR PEACE: You’re invited to march in South Park tomorrow night

February 8, 2018 9:11 pm
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 |   Crime | South Park | West Seattle news

No new official information tonight on last night’s shooting in South Park that left a 16-year-old boy in critical condition. No arrest reported in that case or the double shooting a week earlier. But we do know that neighbors in South Park are hoping that West Seattleites and others from around the city will join them in this quiet plea. The invitation, in English and Spanish:

In wake of the recent shootings in our neighborhood, please join your neighbors in a silent march for peace. We will meet at 7:30 pm Friday at the library [8604 8th Ave. S.] and proceed to the Chevron gas station on 14th. Bring flashlights or candles. Let’s bring the city’s attention to our neighborhood. We need additional resources. We need community engagement. We need Peace. ☮️

A raíz de los recientes tiroteos en nuestro vecindario, únase a sus vecinos en una marcha silenciosa por la paz. Nos reuniremos a las 7:30 en la biblioteca y nos dirigiremos a la estación de servicio de Chevron en la 14 avenida. Trae linternas o velas. Es importante llamar la atención de la ciudad a nuestro vecindario. Necesitamos recursos adicionales. Necesitamos trabajar como comunidad. Necesitamos LA PAZ!

UPDATE: Two men shot in South Park

12:40 PM: Big police search under way in an industrial area in the south end of South Park right now after two people were shot in the 9200 block of 10th Avenue S. [map] According to radio communications, a suspect is believed to have fled in what’s described as a dark-colored Toyota Camry. Traffic is being blocked on some roads around the scene. Updates when we get them.

12:47 PM: According to radio communications, both victims are men, one in his 40s, one in his 20s, and both are being rushed to Harborview Medical Center by SFD medic units.

2:01 PM: We just talked with police at the scene. They believe one person shot both men, whose injuries are described as non-life-threatening. They don’t yet have a good description of the shooter but do hope to at least have more of a description of the getaway vehicle soon. No word on a motive, either; this is an industrial area in southwest South Park.

ADDED: Above is video of the briefing we covered at the scene, with SPD spokesperson Det. Patrick Michaud.