West Seattle, Washington
One our area’s most-passionate advocates is retiring and moving away. As noted in our daily event list, a gathering Saturday in South Park was a sendoff for James Rasmussen, who’s spent 20 years with the Duwamish River Community Coalition, most recently as its Superfund Manager. from the DRCC’s announcement of his departure:
Having represented the Duwamish Tribe on the organization’s Advisory Council for 10 years before joining the staff as Executive Director/Coordinator, as a member of the Duwamish Tribal Council for 26 years, and as the founding Director of the Duwamish Tribe’s Longhouse and Cultural Center, James has been a consistent and active voice in environmental, habitat, and community issues along the Duwamish River and in the Seattle region for over 30 years. He played a fundamental role in the Environmental Protection Agency’s formation of the Duwamish Superfund Roundtable, which will inform the next phase of the Cleanup Plan, and is a beloved and legendary figure within the community as well as further afield for his great depth of knowledge of the River, its history, as well as the science of the Superfund cleanup.
James is much sought-after as a public speaker and allyship for his serene yet tireless advocacy for a clean and healthy River and River Valley. He will be missed greatly and we wish him a peaceful and satisfying retirement—as Duwamish Valley community members, we owe him a debt that can never be repaid. He has our deep gratitude for pushing policy-makers and Responsible Parties to work towards a better environment.
Rasmussen is moving to Las Vegas to be with family. With him in the photo above are, at left, DRCC executive director Paulina López and, center, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen. One month ago, when the tribe announced its legal action to secure full federal recognition, Rasmussen was among the speakers, declaring, “The recovery of the Duwamish River must include the restoration of the Duwamish Tribe.”
12:18 AM: Tuesday evening, police arrested four north-end bank-robbery suspects in South Park and White Center. It was a relatively lengthy helicopter-assisted operation, and the Guardian One crew has released video this past hour showing how it unfolded.
11:12 AM: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says that the four suspects will have bail hearings on Thursday, since they weren’t booked into jail until early this morning.
The eight-year-old South Park Bridge is (corrected) owned by King County, which sent an alert about maintenance work planned all day tomorrow; 8 am-4 pm Tuesday (April 5th), the bridge “will intermittently be reduced to one of two lanes in both directions. The lane closures are needed to allow maintenance crews room to clean the drainage systems and expansion joints on the bridge.”
No big presentations or special guests at this month’s online meeting of the District 1 Community Network, a coalition of advocates from all around West Seattle and South Park. Instead, attendees shared a variety of quick updates and announcements.
WEST SEATTLE BEE FESTIVAL: It will return this year, in May, reported Cindi Barker of the Emergency Communication Hubs, who will be participating with preparedness info, as in the past. May 21st is the date. She also said a preparedness event is in the works for South Park’s Marra Farm in the next few months.
HIGHLAND PARK: Donna Burns reported that the HP Improvement Club is planning an event for June 25th, which will mark one year since the fire that closed the HPIC building – details to come. This month’s meeting of HPAC, meantime, will feature SDOT – that’s set for Wednesday, March 23rd, online.
FAUNTLEROY: Bruce Butterfield from the Fauntleroy Community Association said FCA will bring back its Food Fest annual membership meeting this year, in May.
TALKING WITH THE MAYOR: D1CN administrator Larry Wymer is point person for getting Mayor Bruce Harrell and at-large City Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda (a West Seattle resident) and Sara Nelson as future guests. Nothing’s finalized. yet.
LANDMARK NOMINATION: Deb Barker, who represents the Morgan Community Association on D1CN but is also a historic-preservation advocate, said the city’s Landmarks Board had voted earlier in the day to nominate the South Park Neighborhood Center as a potential city landmark.
The building at 8201 10th Avenue South is officially known as Former Fire Station 26. Here’s the nomination document. The board will decide at a future meeting whether to designate it as a landmark.
The District 1 Community Network meets on first Wednesdays, 7 pm, online until further notice; next meeting is April 6th.
For the second time today, we’re publishing a report of a stolen red Nissan – this time, a car. Katie‘s red 2007 Nissan Sentra was stolen from the 800 block of South Donovan St in South Park on Tuesday night. License plate BWN3670. If you see it, call 911.
We’re getting multiple reports of street flooding in South Park this morning – in the wake of the 9 am high tide and the (now finally easing) heavy rain. The video above from 5th Avenue South and South Holden is by Clay DeRooy; the photos below are from Curtis Allan:
We just heard a police dipatch for a vehicle stuck in the water at 5th/Holden so steer clear of the area for a while. Drainage issues have been a longstanding problem in South Park – there’s some work under way now to try to alleviate it.
3:26 PM: We’ve been updating this in our morning traffic watch but we’re told the closure of 14th Avenue South in South Park, south of Cloverdale, is likely to last a few more hours, so we’re publishing this separate update. This all traces back to a truck crash after 7 am today. Here’s how SDOT explains the situation:
Due to a damaged utility pole, the Seattle Department of Transportation closed 14th Avenue S from S Cloverdale S to S Director St. to all members of the public in between SR-99 and South Park Bridge. The road is currently expected to remain closed until approximately 6 p.m. today and will be reopened once Seattle City Light crews verify that the area is safe to travel through. SDOT encourages travelers to find alternate routes if you are driving in and around the area. The South Park Bridge and the off-ramp from SR 99 to 14th Avenue S will be considered local access only.
While the South Park Bridge will be open to traffic, there will not be a direct access to SR 99. For travelers who are coming from South Park Bridge, SDOT encourages them to take Dallas Ave S to 12th Ave S and then to S Cloverdale to get access to SR 99. Travelers who usually exit 14th Avenue S from SR 99 will be asked to turn around and find an alternate route.
So again, the SP Bridge IS open, but not accessible from south of Cloverdale.
5:41 PM: SDOT says 14th Avenue S. is now open again.
3:48 PM: The South Park Bridge has opened again to vehicle traffic, two days after it was closed because of utility poles and trees down on East Marginal Way, blocking access to its east end. Here’s some of what they cleaned up (photos courtesy SDOT):
4:25 PM: Though the bridge is open/accessible again, SDOT says parts of East Marginal are still closed – to be specific, between 16th Ave South & South 86th Place.
5:40 PM: In an email update, SDOT elaborates, “Although SCL has completed work to clear debris and repair equipment within Seattle city limits, damaged traffic signal equipment in Tukwila continues to make the road unsafe to reopen south of the bridge. SDOT and Tukwila Public Works are continuing to work closely together to respond to the situation.” The stretch of East Marginal that remains closed isn’t expected to reopen before tomorrow.
One lingering problem from this afternoon’s wind: Downed wires/poles have closed East Marginal Way South between 14th Ave South and South 86th Place, and that means the South Park Bridge is closed too. Seattle City Light says, “We expect we can clear the road by tomorrow evening at the latest.”
Quick reminder of four opportunities to get vaccinated in the next four days – two for COVID, two for flu:
COVID VACCINATIONS AT OLG: As previously reported, Our Lady of Guadalupe is hosting a clinic on Sunday, 9:30 am-1:30 pm. Our story includes the link for making an appointment. Pfizer and Moderna available, first, second, and (Pfizer) boosters.
COVID VACCINATION IN SOUTH PARK: No appointment needed at the South Park Senior Center (8201 10th Ave. S.) 9 am-1 pm Tuesday (October 19th), where all three vaccines are available, including Pfizer boosters. (Here’s the flyer.)
FLU SHOTS THIS WEEKEND: All community members are welcome at the flu-shot clinics 10 am-4 pm Saturday at Madison Middle School (3429 45th SW) and 10 am-4 pm Sunday at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle). Details and the registration link are in our original report.
Keeping an event venue going during a long-running pandemic – when events have been banned or restricted – proved to be too tough a challenge for South Park Hall to keep going. So after four years, the renovated historic space at 1253 South Cloverdale is closing, One of its original proprietors, West Seattle entrepreneur Corina Luckenbach, has announced a fixtures/furniture sale for tomorrow (Sunday, October 3rd), 10 am-3 pm. Some items already have been sold but at last report they still had some tables and chairs as well as their bar. Luckenbach’s main business, Bebop Waffle Shop in The Admiral District, is still “doing great.” As for the fate of the South Park Hall space, owner John Bennett, the West Seattle-based entrepreneur/preservationist, says he’ll be seeking a new tenant,
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.