West Seattle, Washington
Two things about that photo of the south side of Barton, alongside Roxhill Park across from Westwood Village, are notable — what you see, and what you don’t see. What you do see: Shiny new “4-Hour Parking” signs, as promised to the Westwood Neighborhood Council and other activists (here’s our report from earlier this month; there also had been an update last month when we covered the West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting). What you don’t see, as a result of the new signs: The makeshift used-car-sales lot (and RV park) eyesore and safety risk that this stretch had been (note the empty space in our photo – we pulled over just past the Metro bus parking zone on the west edge of the block).
(photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
We just checked in with Austin Pratt — regional bridge commander for the U.S. Coast Guard — to find out why the proposal to ban most openings of The Low Bridge during rush hours still hasn’t gone to official publication, and therefore public comment. We first told you about this last month — West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s push for the restrictions to ease traffic troubles (March 3 WSB report), then the Coast Guard’s role in proposing and reviewing it (March 6 WSB report). As Pratt explained at the time, the proposal must be published in the Federal Register, and that launches a 60-day formal comment period and 30-day review period before a decision can be made; he was hoping that comment period would have started by now, but getting to the FR publication stage (which also will be reported in the USCG’s “Local Notice for Mariners“) required a series of approvals, and he told us a few minutes ago, “It’s on the Admiral’s desk today.” Barring any further delays, that means the comment period should finally open within a couple weeks; we will keep watch and let you know when it starts and how to make sure your voice is heard (which, as we reported last month, will require including the official “docket number” in your comment).
THIS IS A 2008 POST – FOR INFO ON 2009 MOVIE SERIES, GO HERE
We’ve talked about Hi-Yu, we’ve talked about The Parade, we’ve talked about Summer Fest, and now, another West Seattle summer tradition is getting ready for its closeup: Movies on the Wall next to Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor). This summer, it’ll be outdoor movie night every Saturday, July 19-August 23, with WSB as a co-sponsor; as part of that, we’re teaming up right now with Hotwire proprietor Lora Lewis to gather suggestions for what movies you would like to see shown! You’ll find ballot boxes at Hotwire and other Junction spots, and an online voting option right here on WSB – find it from the Cinema tab across the top of all pages – or just click here. You have till May 15 to get a suggestion in; we’ll post periodic updates on how it’s going and whether we’re seeing any trends!
Quick update on today’s hottest topic, the photos/report from Matt Durham on the Camp Long homeless encampment: Parks Department spokesperson Dewey Potter returned our e-mail inquiry this afternoon, saying the clearing would not happen today, because “the crew was still waiting to hear from the outreach staff from the Human Services Department about whether they had made contact with the people to provide information about programs and services.” We’ll keep checking.
Just received a copy of the decision issued this afternoon by city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner after several days of testimony we covered last month: The Hearing Examiner affirms the Landmarks Preservation Board‘s denial of a “certificate of approval” for Satterlee House owner William Conner to build three houses on the Beach Drive landmark’s front lawn (photo above). That doesn’t mean he can’t build on the front lawn, but the particular proposal he had put forth – which required Landmarks Board approval because of the property’s status as a city landmark – will not be approved. WSB was the only news organization to cover the hearing that stretched out across almost three weeks last month (you can find the previous stories in reverse chronological order by looking here). 5:15 PM UPDATE: We have messages out to Conner’s lawyer Richard Hill seeking comment; this is the city’s final decision in the matter, so any further challenge would have to come in court. Also, here is a link to the full 16-page decision if you would like to read it yourself. 5:20 PM UPDATE: Quick reply from Hill: “Mr. Conner respectfully disagrees with the Hearing Examiner’s decision. He will be reviewing his options.” No decision on that expected for at least a week. Meantime, we’re still working on the summary of the decision. 6:39 PM UPDATE: As promised, here’s our full writeup on the Hearing Examiner’s decision, with excerpts:Read More
Those are two early design concepts presented to the city recently for the first 10 proposed wayfinding kiosks related to the trailblazing (in more ways than one) West Seattle Walking Trails project we first told you about 2 months ago when local activist Chas Redmond was looking for map feedback. Read on to see what kind of feedback he and the local pedestrian-advocacy group Feet First got, and to find out what happens next with this project:Read More
Those are photos of an encampment in a not-easily-accessible section of Camp Long. WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham has taken those photos — and others you will see later in this post — while monitoring the site on an almost-daily basis since happening onto it at Camp Long more than a month ago. His captions, counter-clockwise from top left: “(The) encampment … has grown in size along Camp Long’s northernmost boundaries as human waste layers thicken; Robins and other wildlife sift along the garbage to gather food as winter breaks; A sign posted no earlier than the afternoon of April 22 claimed its posting occurred April 17. (I have) been staking out the encampment since March 5th and found no posting as late as Tuesday morning on April 22.” More of Matt’s photos, a closer look at its location, and what the city told us about this, ahead:Read More
This time, though, arrests are reported, thanks in part to alert neighbors. The report comes from Scott, who was away from home when the burglary happened on Sunday, but says he’s just across the alley from this burglary (7300 block 35th SW) reported here 3 days earlier:
So, from what we’ve heard someone (4 of them) attempted to break into our house today.
They backed their vehicle up our driveway and went around the back to break into a door on the backside of the house, first attempting to get into the side garage window first. While this was happening -3- of our neighbors were already on the phone calling 911 !
The police caught 2 of the guys, both in their early 20s. Obviously our house is being watched!
I’m really surprised that they attempted to hit our house; it’s a lot more open than the house across the alley from us! No trees to block the view of our house, wide-open driveway, and obviously LOTS of neighbors watching!
We got that photo from Seacrest less than an hour ago as the Elliott Bay Water Taxi headed over from Pier 55 on its first official run of the season. Upon arrival, a loudspeaker announcement from the crew thanked their inaugural group of passengers — five in all (you can hear the announcement in this clip:
As mentioned earlier, the kickoff ceremony, emceed by West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine and featuring music by West Seattle’s Bronwyn Edwards Cryer, is happening noon-2 pm. Water Taxi rides are free all day (here’s the schedule), and remember the free shuttle is now back in business too (here’s its schedule) – taking it will be a really good idea today, given the limited parking at and around Seacrest. The Water Taxi’s season is set to continue all the way through Halloween this year, with the full 7-day schedule all the way till the end.
Just west of The Junction at midday today, those kids played in a space that is taking shape as their future neighborhood playground, at Ercolini Park, while dozens of adults labored just feet away to install the playground equipment that just arrived:
Here’s video of both aforementioned groups in action:
The volunteers’ work at Ercolini continues 9 am-3 pm tomorrow, and is a major milestone in a transformation that’s been years in the making. Around this time last year, the park site was still a large grassy lot – former family homestead, sold to the city Parks Department:
In the ensuing months, neighborhood volunteers received a city grant — matching funds for cash and volunteer-time commitments that they worked hard to procure; now they’re cashing in on that volunteer help – and looking forward to a grand-opening celebration within a matter of weeks. By the way, if you live in any of the areas around The Junction, stop by Ercolini tomorrow to not only see what’s happening, but also to familiarize yourself with the site’s new status as your neighborhood gathering place in case of disaster – between 10 am and 2 pm, a table with safety info will be set up like the one last weekend in Morgan Junction (and other events that have happened in Alki and Pigeon Point; check the map in this post for other upcoming events – we’ll have updates soon for additional neighborhoods).
It’s finally happening! The sidewalk on the south side of SW 104th next to Arbor Heights Elementary School is almost finished. Many thanks to the Arbor Heights PTSA, who have worked for several years with the city to make this happen!
The Arbor Heights sidewalk project was first mentioned here last November.
Report #2: As Manuel noted in his e-mail, the issue he is following isn’t technically in West Seattle, but certainly affects a lot of WS drivers “who use South Spokane Street to go to Costco or work.” He continued:
I wrote SDOT inquiring about the poor condition of the concrete panels at the railroad crossings down there. Over time they sunk several inches, and drivers had to slow way down. They have since fixed the eastbound panels, but the westbound panels are currently pretty bad. Anyway, just passing along a well-thought-out response from our city.
Read on for the full text of the response that Manuel received and forwarded:Read More
For the second time in less than 12 hours, a vehicle has hit a building in West Seattle. WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli is out on the “heavy rescue” 911 call in the 4400 block of 55th SW (map) and texted us with the description “truck vs. house.” 1:05 AM UPDATE: Police on the scene tell Christopher nobody is hurt; the truck’s driver fled before fire/police arrived and will face a hit-run charge if/when found.
This P-I story about impending pole-less-ness in new fire stations — including Station 37 on 35th — got us wondering how that project and another one in West Seattle are going. We found this page on the Fire Department website with monthly reports on the fire-station projects citywide; though the newest “status report” is filed as “March 2008,” it’s dated just yesterday. For Station 37, to be built at a new site at 35th/Holden (while the old one, a city landmark, will eventually be sold), the architects are “continu(ing) on construction documents.” For Station 32 in The Junction, the report says its architects (different firm) are continuing on pre-design, and “three alternative site layouts have been prepared for comment.” Another document linked from that same city page says construction on FS 32 is scheduled to start in November ’09, while 37 is scheduled to start this August.
Last night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the project proposed for that spot between PCC and the California Place mixed-use building had one foot in the present and one foot in the future – as would be optimal for such meetings, since new buildings will be around for decades. We toplined it last night but here as promised are the details:Read More
First reader report: Officers with guns drawn earlier this morning at 46th/Andover. We are checking on that. 9:21 AM UPDATE: Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct says “911 call of a man in a back yard with a shotgun. Turned out it was only an air rifle and the intent was to shoot a woodpecker.”
Second reader report: Burglary yesterday. Here’s what Joe e-mailed to WSB this morning:
We live on the 7300 block 35th Ave SW, I went home from work to meet a service technician at 12:30 pm and found that we had been burglarized. Entry through broken window. two tvs, two cameras, laptop, misc stuff . One tv was lying on floor as if the burglars were scared off before the were done. This happened between 9:oo am and 12:30 pm and nobody saw anything.
Update: A few folks asked about a followup on the two-car crash at 35th/Thistle the other night. It’s close to impossible to get an update on the victim’s condition — privacy laws have tightened in recent years so media cannot just call up a hospital and say “somebody was brought in from a crash, how are they” — but Sgt. Durden says the crash did NOT turn fatal. As for the cause, he says one of the drivers had run the red light, and was cited.
In honor of our state’s Disaster Preparedness Month, throughout April – and continuing for a few weeks into May – we’re helping local community leaders share information geared to help you take steps to ensure your family’s safety in case the unthinkable happens. One big emphasis is the designation of neighborhood gathering spots around West Seattle where residents will be able to go for information and help if the normal lines of communication are down; even if the only preparedness step you take this spring is to know your nearest gathering spot, that’s still progress. With that in mind, we’ve made the map you see above – each marker is clickable and explains that respective location and who it’s for. Two communities, Alki and Morgan Junction, have already had one-day drop-in events for neighbors to visit the gathering spot and get disaster-preparedness info; this weekend, you’ve got the same chance in two more — 8 am-10 am tomorrow at 20th and Andover, during the Pigeon Point neighborhood cleanup, drop by to get info and get acquainted; 10 am-2 pm Sunday at Ercolini Park, Junction-area residents are invited to do the same. ONE MORE THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW, NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE: One of the many West Seattleites working on this effort is Cindy Pestka, who has worked a long time to help people with readiness (we borrowed the “Master of Disaster” term from her); she created a checklist of supplies you can purchase right now to have on hand “just in case” – it has helpful specifics, not just the generalized lists you often see. We’ve uploaded it here so you can take a look and print it out for yourself for use in building a kit you can get to if you need it (and if you don’t have MS Word — thanks to Amy F, here’s a PDF version).
Thanks to marketing director Maureen Black at Argosy Cruises for answering our inquiries about when we might catch the Sightseer — aka the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, now operated by the new King County Ferry District — in action prior to its season debut this Sunday; as a result, we caught the crew in action doing touch-and-go practice at Seacrest this afternoon. Here’s a longer clip from our visit to Seacrest:
Rides are free all day Sunday; the EBWT will start running that morning (8:30 am from downtown), but the real fun at the dock will be the official launch-day festivities noon-2 pm, with West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine emceeing (he can be a lively host, as evidenced at the 34th Legislative District Caucus earlier this month) and Argosy CEO Kevin Clark also scheduled to appear.
“Early design guidance” tonight for 2743 California (city project page here), replacing a duplex between PCC and California Place (the white building with apartments over businesses including Freshy’s): Not much controversy. A few new details – the “medical offices” are expected to be primarily dental, three floors over “basement” parking. Design Review Board members had a lot of questions and recommendations, but they did advance the project to the next stage. More tomorrow, including the interesting caveat that came up about half a dozen times.
It’s not online yet but the agenda for next Thursday’s city Design Commission meeting (at City Hall downtown) came out today via e-mail, and the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza project will return that day for another review. The same commission had a long list of suggestions when they saw the project for the first time three weeks ago; read about them in our report from that meeting. FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: This review has been delayed – we’ll let you know when it’s rescheduled.
We just checked in again with Charlestown Cafe owner Larry Mellum; in our last update three weeks ago, Larry’s co-owner Ron Hanlon told us they were still awaiting the final go-ahead for work to start, and they couldn’t set a reopening date yet. Today, Larry tells WSB that the work required for the restaurant to reopen post-Feb.-4-fire still hasn’t begun:
The project has not yet started. We have been waiting for our Landlord and their insurance carrier to get the required construction proposal and deposit back to the contractor. To date that has not happened due I believe to some administrative glitches within their operation. … We are as anxious as you to get the Charlestown going again. Thank you again for all of your support.
Whenever the work starts, the cafe owners say it’ll take at least four weeks from that point to get it finished so the Charlestown can reopen. (You can always find the latest WSB coverage of the Charlestown Cafe situation atop this archive.)
Just in from the city Transportation Department:
A contractor for a private development will close the 2100 block of Bonair Drive SW in West Seattle to traffic next week to repair the roadway. The street will be closed between Alki Avenue SW and Halleck Avenue SW (map) for four to five days. Drivers will need to use an alternate route.
Just announced today: South Seattle Community College and City University of Seattle are partnering for a program that will enable students to get a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with all four years of studies taking place on the SSCC campus in east West Seattle. SSCC says the deal will be finalized at a ceremony next Tuesday; here are the details released this morning.