West Seattle, Washington
Another family-owned business with a lot of history in West Seattle is looking to the future. Here’s the announcement we received this afternoon:
The Sweeney family has announced they are studying alternatives for their properties located in the West Seattle Triangle, including the current site of Alki Lumber & Hardware. Lynn Sweeney, current owner and operator of Alki Lumber and The Grove, West Seattle Inn, provides the following statement:
In looking to our future, we are faced with the current closure of the SR99 viaduct, upcoming Avalon Way repaving and bike lane project, current ST3 Link Light Rail planning of the West Seattle to Ballard extension, and the continuing support and funding for the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project. Pairing that with the age and condition of our current retail spaces, now is an opportune time to plan long-term for our footprint in the West Seattle Triangle neighborhood.
As a result, we have been actively working to study and understand the implications of zoning, alternatives for the Link Light Rail guideway alignments and station locations, and other urban design factors that affect the extended family’s real estate holdings. Our goal is to establish a vision and a master plan for the future of our properties to benefit the West Seattle Triangle community, which serves as the gateway to the peninsula. This will be a long-term, multi-year, phased approach. Given their depth of experience in transit oriented development and complex urban design and planning projects, we are partnering with HB Management and Northwest Studio to provide their professional knowledge and expertise. Ed Hewson of HB Management and his family have been friends of my family for over 50 years. We are grateful for the broad portfolio of knowledge he brings to the table and, as importantly, for his shared passion for and understanding of the West Seattle community.
We feel lucky to ride on the coattails of Jack Miller of Husky Deli and his published letter to the community about the future of Husky Deli. Our background story is similar in many respects. In 1921 my great grandfather, James A. Sweeney, founded Alki Lumber & Hardware Co. at its original location at Harbor Avenue, on the shores of Alki Point. At the time, Seattle was home to countless independent lumberyards. Today only a select few remain, including Alki Lumber, which is now in its fourth generation of Sweeney-family ownership and operation.
When James passed away in 1938, the business continued under his wife Mayme and son, Bill Sweeney. It was at this time that the Harbor Avenue location was closed and Alki Lumber opened its doors at 36th Ave and SW Avalon. In 1957 the business, including the original building structure, were moved across the street to its current location at 4422 36th Avenue SW.
“Tell it to Sweeney” was a familiar sign on the trucks that serviced West Seattle through the early years and has become a mantra of the company’s “can-do” service philosophy to this day. When Bill passed away in 1962, his wife Hazel and his son, Jim B. Sweeney, in his early twenties at the time, took the helm. In the early 1960s, Jim purchased the wholesale dealer Dearborn Lumber Co. and merged it with Alki Lumber’s retail arm as an avenue to compete in Seattle’s booming commercial lumber market.
After 50 years of unsurpassed leadership, my dad passed away in 2012. As the fourth generation’s flag- bearer, I stepped in with a team of dedicated employees to continue the family’s heritage and the company’s ongoing commitment to service excellence. Thanks to this commitment and loyalty of numerous long-time customers, Alki Lumber has continued to serve the West Seattle community and beyond, supplying materials to contractors and homeowners throughout Greater Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
As Jack so accurately explained in his letter, “the future isn’t the exact footprint where we are now.” Anyone who comes into Alki today knows that we still look a lot like 1957 and that the structures, lumber trucks, semis, and forklifts don’t mesh with the changing neighborhood or the changing environment for small business in the City of Seattle. The family has decided it is time to study alternatives. As part of this study, the intent is to continue to be an active and responsive member of the community. We will be looking for ways to continue to add value through new retail experiences and by enhancing the uniqueness and vintage character of our piece of West Seattle.
As part of this, we look forward to continuing our longstanding tradition of providing full-service lumber and hardware to the West Seattle community and beyond. We will evaluate new and creative ways to grow our retail footprint in the community, potentially with more mercantile-style offerings, while considering serving wholesale customers from an additional location that better meets the industrial and commercial needs of our business. This is a multi-year, phased approach and Alki Lumber will remain fully operational during the process.
It’s an exciting time, which needs support. We appreciate the loyalty of our employees and customers and we remain dedicated to being part of the community, growing together and continuing the legacy and investment in the community for a fifth generation.
In addition to the two properties mentioned in the statement – Alki Lumber (36,000+ square feet at 4422 36th SW) and The Grove (22,000+ square feet at 3512 SW Alaska) – county assessor’s office also show the family owns an apartment complex at 4500 36th SW (28,000+ square feet). We asked Lynn Sweeney about others. Her reply: “The primary parcels we are studying are where Alki Lumber sits. Family members also own The Grove Inn, the apartment, the Alki Lumber warehouse on 37th, and the buildings on 36th that are occupied by Alki Artisan and Unique Services/Seattle Sorbet. These will be studied as part of the master planning.” Most of the area is currently zoned for mixed-use to 65 feet of height, and under the current HALA MHA upzoning proposal before the City Council, would add another 10 feet. The Triangle went through an extensive planning process that was launched nearly a decade ago.
4:41 PM: A power outage is forcing the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) to close its Triangle location for the rest of the day, says executive director Shalimar Gonzales: “Due to an intermittent power outage, we are closing our West Seattle location for the rest of the evening. Our Fauntleroy facility will remain open normal hours today.”
8:57 PM: Update – “Our current power outage is impacting 5 properties including our West Seattle location due to a faulty cable. Seattle City Light will be working overnight to replace the cable and restore power to the area. We anticipate re-opening the West Seattle facility at 8 am on Thursday, November 15th.”
Veterans Day observances started tonight in West Seattle with the annual dinner at American Legion Post 160 in The Junction. The experiences of those who were there tonight spanned multiple services and multiple decades:
Below with Post 160 commander Keith Hughes, left, and American Legion state chaplain Chris Kuhnert is Chelsea Clayton, a West Seattleite who works as veterans’ affairs director for U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
As she had done at last year’s Post 160 dinner, Clayton read a message from Sen. Murray:
The heart of the message: “Please accept our sincere thanks for your dedication and service.” Tomorrow, November 11th, is not only Veterans Day but the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
P.S. Post 160’s observance continues tomorrow morning as volunteers will be out early to place flags in The Junction.
Thanks to Rae for the tip: The Goodwill donation station in West Seattle will be gone after today. It’s been there for six and a half years, but the site at 4746 Fauntleroy Way SW has since been slated for redevelopment and the project (a 300+-unit, two-building mixed-use plan that cleared Design Review in April) is ramping up. When we went over to confirm after getting the tip, the Goodwill attendant told us they’re closing at 4 pm today, so if you’ve been meaning to take something there – you have just a few more hours. He also said they’ve been looking for a replacement site in West Seattle for months but have yet to find one. With Goodwill’s departure, Northwest Center will have the lone take-donations-to-a-truck spot in West Seattle (4712 44th SW) for now
Last Wednesday, we brought you the story of a hit-run crash right outside Fire Station 32 in The Triangle, with an arrest made because a firefighter saw the driver leaving the scene and gave information to police. Today, we got to talk with that firefighter, Felton Tate. He explained that even as he and his colleagues rushed to help the woman injured by the driver, he spotted the suspect’s vehicle:
We don’t know how the 34-year-old victim is doing – her dog was not hurt in the Tuesday night incident, Tate said – but online records show that the 26-year-old driver arrested for suspected DUI and hit-run spent a day and a half in jail before posting bond and being released on Thursday. Meantime – when SFD answered our original inquiry last week, they described Tate as a “new firefighter” just out of probation; that means, we learned today, he’s been a firefighter for a year. Currently he’s assigned to Engine 32, which is based at Station 32 along with three other vehicles and their crews – Ladder 11, Medic 32, and Battalion 7. He explains he wanted to be a firefighter ever since he was a kid, impressed by firefighters who responded to a kitchen fire at his grandma’s house, saying he never forgot how “helpful” they were.
The West Seattle YMCA (3622 SW Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor) is closed today through September 9th. The Y website explains that this is “Facility Improvement Week,” with reopening scheduled for Monday, September 10th.
ADDED 1:12 PM: We asked West Seattle/Fauntleroy Y executive director Shalimar Gonzales for a few more details about the closure: “During this time we perform normal maintenance including deep cleaning, resurfacing and repainting the basketball court, regrouting the pool, and more!” This is just the branch in The Triangle – the Fauntleroy location remains open, regular hours.
A new firefighter at Seattle Fire Station 32 in The Triangle helped police catch a suspected drunk driver after a hit-run crash in front of the station. It happened around 5:20 pm Tuesday; a 34-year-old woman was in the crosswalk with her dog when a pickup-truck driver hit her. As we learned from a tipster later – confirmed today by SFD – firefighter Felton Tate got a description of the truck and driver and provided it to police. With that information, SPD found the 26-year-old suspect at his home a few blocks away. The report says the suspect acknowledged to the officer that he had been involved in the collision. The report says police found “what appeared to be an empty case of beer in the passenger seat of the vehicle.” The driver, police say, showed signs of intoxication, so he was arrested. The report says he refused a breath test until more than three hours after the crash – police were by then pursuing a warrant to draw blood – and at that time, the report says, his breath tests came in at .12. He was booked into jail, where the register shows he is still in custody, in lieu of $5,000 bail. The victim, meantime, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
2:56 PM: As previewed here, the West Seattle VFW invites you to visit as its 100th-anniversary open house continues until 4 pm. Historic items and photos are on display; they’re also hosting the state commander, U.S. Air Force veteran Linda Fairbank. And veterans are invited to join, first year free, per West Seattle commander Steve Strand (a U.S. Army veteran). More photos to add later; the hall’s at 3601 SW Alaska in The Triangle.
7:42 PM: Added – above, state commander Fairbank, local commander Strand, and Kyle Geraghty. Below, one of the items on display, and a wider view inside the hall:
The state commander presented the post with a Century Award certificate from the national commander; the exact 100th anniversary is tomorrow.
As we’ve been reporting, the SW Avalon Way rechannelization/repaving plan is now at 60 percent design, and that’s where SDOT hopes to get remaining issues/concerns surfaced before the final phase of design and the start of construction next spring. So if you have questions/comments, you can take them directly to SDOT staff at the open house that’s on until 7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska). You can also preview the project maps/graphics on the SDOT website (we added them today to our preview story from last night). If you can’t make it to the open house, you can send comments to the project team via email@example.com.
As first reported here last weekend, SDOT has reached another design milestone in the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization plan: “60 percent” design. And that’s why they’re inviting you to an open house tomorrow (Thursday, August 23) for a closer look and comments.
SDOT offered a preview and we finally spoke this afternoon with Dan Anderson, so we could share toplines before the open house. Here are the highlights of what’s changed since the project hit 30 percent design last spring:
(See all the new project graphics on the city website here.)
BICYCLE RAMP: At the north end of the project zone, Anderson says, they heard a lot of comments against moving bicycles onto the sidewalk/trail north of the relocated non-Rapid Ride bus stop. So the ramp onto the sidewalk/trail will now be south of the bus stop.
STREET PARKING: They’re evaluating where street parking can be limited to 2 hours to encourage turnover, especially for Luna Park businesses. One place that looks possible: SW Bradford. Anderson says they’re asking for feedback on the rest of the corridor too (keep in mind that the project zone is not only the entirety of Avalon between Spokane and Fauntleroy, but also 35th between Avalon and Alaska, plus one block of Alaska between 35th and 36th).
The street-parking evaluation also includes load zones, and SDOT wants to hear from you where those would work best. They’re proposing “adding back one parking space on the west side by Luna Park Café” as a loading zone, but are looking for more extensive feedback given that the rechannelization of Avalon will take out the center turn lane, which has been a de-facto load zone in some spots. “Since that’s going away, we have to figure out how trucks can load,” Anderson said.
One parking issue they won’t resolve in time for the meeting – they were asked for “better numbers” in terms of a more precise count of current and proposed street parking, since SDOT’s measuring standards (as little as 16′, as much as 31′) don’t necessarily match what you might consider a parking space. This assessment won’t be ready until next month.
LEFT-TURN POCKETS: The one on NB 35th to WB Alaska will be extended, by community request. Turn pockets, however, will NOT be added at Avalon/Yancy – wouldn’t work with transit and bicycle lanes, said Anderson.
TIMELINE: Because of the extent of the work – including water-main replacement and complete rebuilding of the road on the 35th SW section – this “could be two seasons worth of paving,” Anderson said, so they want to hear from community members regarding “different phasing options.” It’s still planned to start next spring, but the phasing discussion would also tackle where they would start.
Again, tomorrow’s open house is 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska) – drop in when you can. And watch the project page, where updated maps/graphics for the 60 percent design should be posted soon.
ADDED 10:07 AM THURSDAY: We’ve just received from SDOT the boards and major map, added above.
The photo and announcement are from West Seattle VFW post commander Steve Strand:
The West Seattle VFW would like to invite everybody to help us celebrate our 100-year anniversary this Sunday, August 26th, 2018, at 2:00 PM.
Our Post was created when the original Seattle Post #24 COL Theodore Roosevelt joined with the Sgt Farwell post to create Post 2713 Farwell-Roosevelt. We are still housed in the old Morrison Hall at 3601 SW Alaska Street, where we have been since the 1960s. We are across the street from the American Legion who have the cannon out front.
We have been researching our history and will have old newspaper articles and photographs on display. We also have compiled a database of members from 1918 and will attempt to have a list if anybody wants to check it for family members. Our database is incomplete, but the original applications include veterans from the Spanish-American War.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US strives to give back to the community while allowing our members a friendly face and open place to gather and share their experiences. We are offering a one-year free membership to any qualifying veteran that lives or works in West Seattle. If you have a veteran in your life, please bring them by. Many of our members were encouraged to join by children, grandchildren, or others, only to find out the benefit it added to their life. We are all-inclusive – all ages, genders, races, religions, orientations.
This is a free event and our doors will be wide open. Anybody is welcome to come in and browse our building, check-out the displays, or talk with our veterans. We hope to see you there.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Frustrating” was the word City Councilmember Lisa Herbold used tonight to describe an SDOT-led meeting in which she participated last night.
Last night’s meeting was a “roundtable” during which SDOT unveiled proposed “near-term improvements” in the area of the on-hold Fauntleroy Boulevard project, to be funded by a fraction of the Move Seattle levy money earmarked for the full project. Herbold’s comment was made at tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (separate story on that later).
One of the aspects with which others also indicated frustration is a lack of clarity about what will happen with the possible improvements when Sound Transit finalizes which West Seattle light-rail route will be the “preferred alternative.”
Since that decision is still more than half a year away, roundtable invitees “were not being asked to make any choices,” facilitator Susan Hayman clarified at the start of the discussion.
Here’s who was invited:
About 100 people had already settled in outside the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) about an hour before sunset, and right about now are well into “Wonder Woman,” first West Seattle Outdoor Movies feature of the year. At the concession stand, we found someone costumed in the spirit of the movie:
The night’s concession options included popcorn, water, and gummies. Every West Seattle Outdoor Movies event spotlights a nonprofit, and tonight it’s the WS Helpline, with a table just past the screen and $3 raffle tickets for some cool prizes:
Those prizes included a Mountaineers family membership and two tickets to a Seahawks game. Next week’s nonprofit is WestSide Baby – bring diapers! – and the movie is “Secret Life of Pets,” at dusk July 28th. You’re invited to show up as early as 6:30 pm. The Y is at 3622 SW Snoqualmie in The Triangle.
Big turnout for a special storytime tonight at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) – in honor of Pride Month, Mama T was the guest for Drag Queen Story Hour.
Via Instagram, she said, “I love being able to work with children while opening their minds and hearts to the magical and diverse world we live in!”
P.S. The Pride Month toiletry-donation drive for LGBTQ+ youth continues at the Y (3622 SW Snoqualmie) through Saturday.
June is Pride Month, and the front-desk decorations are just one way the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) is celebrating. From executive director Shalimar Gonzales:
For more than 165 years, the Y has played a central role in knitting together the vibrant fabric of America. We believe the Y must continue to lead the way to a brighter future by following our belief that we are stronger when our doors are open to all. We want to ensure all people- across all dimension of diversity- feel welcome and valued as part of the Y family.
At the Y, we use the month of June to celebrate and highlight our LGBTQ+ community, members, and staff. We honor those who have done the hard work for equity and have dedicated the Y to be among them. We remember the brutality and inhumanity that has been and is perpetrated against our LGBTQ+ family. And most of all we honor all those who are living life as their authentic selves and those who are on the path to that discovery.
No matter who you are, you are seen, appreciated and celebrated at the Y.
The West Seattle YMCA has several opportunities for folks interested in showing their support:
· Through June 30: Toiletry Drive for LGBTQ+ Youth. This month we are supporting Lambert House, an LGBTQ drop-in youth center on Capitol Hill. They have requested sock and travel size personal care products to support LGBTQ youth throughout Seattle that access their services.
· June 28, 6:30-7:30 pm: Drag Queen Story Hour: Join special guest, Mama T, for a fun-filled hour of stories, photos, and fun! Sharing stories that celebrate inclusion, acceptance, and diversity, Mama T will provide a fun and lighthearted story time at the West Seattle YMCA for kids and their families. Feel free to bring your pillows, blankets, or favorite stuffed animal! Light refreshments will be available. Hold your spot by (going here).
· Join the West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA without paying a joining fee through Sunday, June 10th, using the code “PRIDE.”
The Y’s main West Seattle location is in The Triangle at 36th/Snoqualmie; in Fauntleroy, it’s at 9140 California SW.
A rare honor for our area’s newest Seattle Fire station – it’s been certified as Platinum LEED, the city has announced, recognizing sustainable design and construction practices. From the announcement:
… The Fire Station 32 project incorporated sustainable features such as solar hot water systems, photovoltaic arrays, green roof, water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient LED lighting systems, energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled building material use, low volatile organic compound (VOC) building material use, natural daylighting of common spaces, and individual thermal controls of sleeping areas. …
Station 32, the city says, is one of only two Platinum LEED-certified fire stations in Seattle, one of three in the state. The Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed station opened last August, on the same site in The Triangle (38th/Alaska) as the former Station 32.
July 21 – Wonder Woman
July 28 – The Secret Life of Pets
August 4 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
August 11 – A Wrinkle in Time
August 18 – Coco
August 25 – Black Panther
Gates open at 6:30 – bring your own chair/blanket(s) to sit on. The movies start at dusk, and of course that time gets earlier as the summer rolls on. Preshow fun includes kids’ activities at the Y (which supports the series, as does the West Seattle Junction Association, with co-sponsors including WSB); food trucks, concessions, and the always-popular nonprofit-benefiting concessions are in the plan for this year too. See you at the movies!
Just so you know what that short-lived Seattle Fire “full response” at 37th/Alaska was about – turned out to be a dryer fire in the Link Apartments building, per SFD, and most of the crews have been canceled.
Inside and out, it’s a big day at the West Seattle YMCA (36th/Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor) – free fun for Healthy Kids Day, until 1 pm!
The Seattle Police Mounted Patrol – based in Highland Park – was visiting while we were there:
Along with activities to keep kids on the move, you can also learn about healthy eating. And the Y staff is ready to help you with everything from summer camp signups to memberships:
Demonstrations too – see the updated list on the Y’s Instagram feed! Today’s fun is all free.
Lots happening tomorrow, as you know if you’ve browsed the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, including one of the year’s biggest family events, Healthy Kids Day at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). This free event packs tons of fun into three hours, 10 am-1 pm on Saturday, and it’s open to everyone, regardless of whether you’re a Y member. Activities include healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, fun games, free cycle helmet with fittings (for the first 100 kids), and program demonstration to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home throughout the summer months. Performances too! Here’s the schedule:
10:15 Halau Hula ‘o Lono
11:30 Y Staff Dance Team
12:00 Y Karate Demo
12:30 Zumba Dance-a-Long
The Y is at 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie (map) in the West Seattle Triangle. And if you decide to become a member during HKD – no joining fee.
FIRST REPORT, 3:53 PM: Tonight, as we’ve been reporting, the Junction Neighborhood Organization has a Fauntleroy Boulevard project update on the agenda. This afternoon, we’ve learned it will be a MAJOR update: The project is on hold, because of concerns that have long been raised by some community members – including that it might conflict with Sound Transit‘s light-rail plan, leading to the same stretch of busy roadway being torn up twice. Just posted to the project webpage:
We’re putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold.
… Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.
Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.
During our recent design outreach, we heard community concerns about dealing with major construction twice in such a short amount of time. The community also asked whether constructing the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project now, and potentially having elements of the project removed later, would be an effective use of public dollars. Our decision to put construction on hold will help to ensure that SDOT’s and Sound Transit’s plans for this stretch of Fauntleroy Way don’t conflict. We recognize West Seattle has multiple paving and transit priorities, and we will reallocate Fauntleroy Boulevard Project funds to address the community’s needs.
Sound Transit is still in the early stages of their design for light rail to West Seattle, and they anticipate choosing a preferred alignment by mid-2019. Last month, the City announced plans to work closely with Sound Transit over the next 18 months to identify a preferred route for the light rail tracks and stations to the West Seattle Junction.
The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan stemmed from a community-generated proposal dating back to the turn of the millennium. It proposed a rechannelization of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska and 35th SW, adding safety and multi-modal features, and stretches of landscaped median. It was idle for some years (concepts were explored in 2010) and then “re-activated” in 2016, with the final design announced last year. But as the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard planning phase ramped up recently, so did the questions and concerns about why millions would be spent on this stretch only to potentially see it torn up again a few years later (it’s in the draft alignment, and ST hopes to start construction as soon as 2025).
ADDED 6:09 PM: We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply:
We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment and we move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project and SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until late 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities. We don’t want to wait on Sound Transit to keep delivering levy improvements in West Seattle.
Another business hit by thieves – this time, Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska in The Triangle) reports:
We had 2 Thule Cargo Boxes stolen from in front of the shop last night. A Thule Force Large and a Thule Force XL. This is now the 3rd total that has been ripped off this year, and we want to let the community know to be on the lookout that local small businesses are being targeted.
If you have tips for the investigation, the SPD incident number is 17-457102.
The West Seattle Trader Joe’s store was expected to reopen this morning after its four-day power outage ended last night, and indeed, multiple WSB readers report, it did. The outage started very early Saturday after a suspected DUI driver rolled his car into the transformer and other equipment on the north side of the store at 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW; City Light told WSB that its part of the repairs were completed by Saturday night but other equipment belonging to the store had to be fixed before they could reconnect, and that took until last night. (While any prolonged closure of a business would be news, this store holds a special place in West Seattle lore due to the many years community members clamored for it, a long wait that finally ended when the conversion of a former car-sales business was completed with the store’s opening in April 2012.)