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Fauntleroy/Dawson signal now in full operation

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Thanks to Sue for the tip – after a round of testing this morning, following a few days in yellow-flashing mode, the new Fauntleroy/Dawson pedestrian signal is now in operation – just five weeks after the city told neighbors the construction schedule was being moved up in a big way (original WSB coverage here).

Happy “Dump the Pump Day” 2008

dumpthepump.jpgEvery day on the calendar has a promotional tie-in … National Chocolate-Covered Pickle Day, Worldwide Sing While Standing On Your Head Day, and on and on … but today’s is worth a note: “Dump the Pump Day” is meant to encourage you to try transit. This year, gas prices could certainly be an impetus – on Dump the Pump Day “Eve” last year (6/20/07), this WSB report showed the 35th/Avalon 7-11 at $2.99 for regular; as of our latest West Seattle-wide weekly survey Sunday night, that grade at that station was $4.33, up $1.34 in a year. We were already planning to use transit today (Water Taxi-ing downtown to cover the city Design Commission presentation on Myrtle Reservoir Park); if you need more convincing, Metro offers suggestions here. And the American Public Transportation Agency offers you the online game Whack-A-Pump.

Officer attacked in High Point: More details, from police report

We’re at the Southwest Precinct, where — after the Delridge District Council meeting wrapped up (details on that later) — we got to see the early draft of the report on last night’s High Point incident that left a police officer badly hurt. Here are the basics:Read More

Another West Seattle hearing about The Viaduct

June 18, 2008 4:30 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

SCENIC_Alaskan_Way_AWV1.jpgJust in from the state – another round of public hearings about the Alaskan Way Viaduct – this time, regarding the environmental assessment of the plan to replace its south end. One of the hearings is set for Madison Middle School in West Seattle, 5-8 pm July 15th. The environmental assessment will be posted here June 27; here’s the full calender of citywide hearings (plus Stakeholder Advisory Committee meetings). Meantime, another reminder — as we reported on Monday, The Viaduct will be closed Saturday morning for the Race for the Cure.

Alki not the only trouble spot: Officer hurt in High Point

While checking with Lt. Steve Paulsen at Southwest Precinct about the Alki trouble last night, we learned that a police officer was assaulted last night at High Point — Lt. Paulsen explained, “A large group of juveniles 16-18 years of age jumped an officer and kicked him severely, repeatedly, in the head. We arrested the suspects.” Regarding the officer’s condition: “He’s going to be OK.”

Update: Animal Shelter confirms breed of dog that bit student

Just because as is usual for these types of stories, the question of whether it was indeed a pit bull stirred up so much discussion yesterday: When we talked to Ann Graves of Seattle Animal Shelter a short time ago for a followup on the Lafayette dog-bite incident from yesterday (original WSB report here), she confirmed, yes, the dog is a pit bull. Might have a tiny bit of other blood, but mostly pit bull and that’s how they’re classifying it. Meantime, they still haven’t found its owner; “we’re hoping someone will come forward,” Graves says. For now, the dog is in 10-day quarantine at the Seattle Animal Shelter to make sure it doesn’t have rabies or anything else that would mean further treatment for the little girl, and “an active investigation” continues.

Update: “Assault with weapons” call — false alarm!

The live 911 log says six Seattle Fire units have responded to an “assault with weapons, 7 per rule” (the latter part usually means serious injuries) call in the 8800 block of 20th SW (at Trenton; here’s a map). That’s all we know right now – on the way to find out more. 1:47 PM UPDATE: Here’s what detectives told us on the scene — an intoxicated person wandered into someone’s yard and the homeowner reportedly claimed they’d heard gunshots. But in reality, police learned at the scene — no gun, no gunshots, the intoxicated person is hurt from having fallen down and will be cared for.

Happening tonight: Councilmember Sally Clark in West Seattle

Want to hear from/meet the city councilmember whose committee has a stack of development/neighborhood issues on its plate — issues that could affect the livability of our neighborhoods for decades to come? Councilmember Sally Clark speaks at the Delridge District Council‘s monthly meeting tonight, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct community room, all welcome, agenda here. (WSB coverage of her recent townhouse-design forum is here; we also covered her recent Junction walking tour.)

Community Safety Partnership tonight: Name change and more

June 17, 2008 11:59 pm
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 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle Crime Prevention Council | West Seattle jail sites | West Seattle news

It’s the last time we’ll be able to tell you about the West Seattle Community Safety Partnership … because its monthly meeting tonight at the Southwest Precinct ended with a new name. That and other info from the meeting, ahead:Read More

Parks Levy committee: 2 hours, 2 West Seattle mentions

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That photo shows a little sliver of West Duwamish Greenbelt (from our Nature Consortium-led hike last month) … one of only two West Seattle areas that were spoken up for during tonight’s public hearing before the City Council-appointed Parks and Green Spaces Levy Citizens’ Advisory Committee. There are other West Seattle projects on the list so far; we published this West Seattle-specific breakout over the weekend (apparently the list hit the Web relatively unheralded on Friday – several of tonight’s speakers from other areas of the city complained they hadn’t heard it was posted and so came to the hearing without having had the chance to read it; they urged the committee to have one more public hearing). Here are a few notes about the West Seattle mentions, plus toplines on what the rest of the city’s interested in, and what’s scheduled to happen next:Read More

Reader report: Car damaged in Alki rampage

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Alki’s David Hutchinson just sent these photos along with this report:

I don’t know the cause but just before 7 pm a very large group of teens (50+) came running down 59th SW and headed west down Alki Ave towards Spud. They climbed over fences and trampled the flowers in front of Spud. Several climbed onto the roof of a white car parked in front of Spuds and then stomped up and down on the hood (see attached photos of the damage).

Here’s David’s other photo:

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Not sure if we will be able to get followup from the Southwest Precinct before tomorrow (we will see if the rest of the team can find out anything from the police reps at the Community Safety Partnership meeting that’s under way now) — ironically, the briefing we attended at City Hall this afternoon largely focused on the fact that Alki is the traditional “area of emphasis” for police now that it’s summer, and they are responding to many more incidents detected “on-view” (in person) than are reported via 911 — which as Councilmember Tim Burgess noted, is the way community policing is supposed to be done. (More details on that briefing later; first we’re writing up the parks-levy hearing, which just concluded after two hours — twice as long as it was scheduled for.)

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: May or may not be related but definitely a case of Alki vandalism if not possibly also “car prowl” — Chris took this photo of a car parked by Whale Tail this morning with its windows smashed out:

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Another followup: Alki sidewalk project “moving forward,” says city

We are still pursuing comment from opponents but wanted to pass this along before too much more time passed by; at the end of last week, we checked with the city Transportation Department regarding the status of the controversial Alki Point sidewalk project. (We hadn’t had official updates since April, after a city-organized meeting ended with some opponents threatening to sue.) Here’s what SDOT communications chief Rick Sheridan tells WSB:

The city remains fully committed to completing the Alki Avenue Sidewalk project. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is moving forward with a design that maintains existing traffic conditions and provides accessible sidewalks for the entire project area using public right of way. We are still planning to begin construction as of spring/summer 2009. Sam Woods, the project manager, will be visiting the Alki Community Council in the near future to discuss input gathered from the neighborhood and outstanding design details. If citizens still have concerns about the project, they are welcome to share that with Ms. Woods via e-mail at: Sandra.Woods@Seattle.Gov

Sheridan also reiterated that the “one-way” option that seemed DOA at the April 2nd meeting remains out of the picture.

California Ave upzoning: “Recommendation” now being written

Seven months after we first reported the proposal to “upzone” California SW upzonescreengrab.jpgbetween Hanford and Hinds (map at left) and a bit beyond on the west side — more than three months after our last update — and more than six months after the big public meeting about it — the city Department of Planning and Development‘s recommendation about the California Ave “upzoning” proposal is finally close to completion. We just talked with Malli Anderson, the city planner working on it, and she says she is “writing the recommendation this week.” She says it’s a complicated multi-page decision and can’t commit to exactly when it will be done – but everyone who is a “party of record” will get notification by mail (if you don’t hear about it sooner) — that includes everyone who has sent the city comments about the proposal, as well as everyone who put their names on the sign-up sheet at that official meeting last November (WSB coverage here). Here’s how the process will go, according to Anderson: DPD issues its recommendation to the city Hearing Examiner, who then schedules a hearing. That recommendation can also be appealed. About two weeks after the hearing, the HE makes a recommendation to a City Council committee, which then in turn makes a recommendation to the full Council (which has to approve any zoning change such as this). The recommendation will not be public the moment Anderson finishes drafting it – it first must go through various stages of internal review at the DPD before it’s released. We’ll keep watch and let you know as soon as we know. (To catch up on this proposal, you can check our coverage archive here; that includes our December interview with area property owners/rezone backers Mike Gain and Roger Cayce.

Live from City Hall: Southwest Precinct briefing

June 17, 2008 3:02 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police

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Reporting from City Hall downtown (where the west-facing windows show a glimpse of West Seattle and a slice of Elliott Bay – the glare in the photo obscures the view, but you get the idea): We mentioned earlier today that Captain Joe Kessler and other Southwest Precinct leaders were scheduled to brief the City Council’s Public Safety (etc.) Committee at 2 pm today; the committee’s actually taking care of other business first and the SWP briefing is yet to come, sometime after 3 pm, just in case you’re following along via the Seattle Channel (online here, on-air at Channel 21). We’re here not just to cover it but there’s also a chance that the precinct leaders may talk about the SWP’s unique informational pratnership with WSB, in which case we might be asked to say a few words. MORE COUNCIL NEWS: Just in via e-mail, the council has just set a 7 pm July 8 hearing on the proposed bag fee/foam ban. 3:52 PM UPDATE: Our 15 seconds of fame will have to wait for another day. WSB got a nice shoutout from Lt. Steve Paulsen, but more importantly, both he and Capt. Kessler gave major props to YOU — and everyone in West Seattle — for what they called an “incredible” level of commitment, alertness, and involvement, which is helping keep our area safer. Some interesting stats in Capt. Kessler’s presentation, too; we’ll write those up a bit later – now we’re heading across downtown for the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Citizens’ Advisory Committee‘s big public hearing at Seattle Center at 5:30 pm (exactly where, is explained here).

Child bitten by dog at Lafayette Elementary playground

We just confirmed with the Seattle Animal Shelter that they have seized the dog which is reported to have bitten a child at the Lafayette Elementary playground before school this morning. Our first report came from Lafayette parent Bernicki, who quotes school administration as saying the bite wasn’t serious; the dog apparently ran onto the playground without its owner or minder anywhere in sight, and in fact, Ann Graves from the Animal Shelter tells WSB they are still trying to locate its owner before they can decide what will happen to the dog. She says their report indicated the dog is a pit bull, which is also what Bernicki told us, but they will not be able to confirm its breed — it could be a mix — until the dog is at SAS facilities later.

Members of R.E.M. coming to Easy Street a week from tonight

Just out of the WSB inbox – a news release sent by West Seattleite Keith Bacon announcing an event at Easy Street a week from tonight — a book launch party with two members of R.E.M. in attendance. Read on for the full details:Read More

Another homeless encampment cleared in West Seattle

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A month and a half after his first report here of a homeless encampment at Camp Long (cleared by the city days later), WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham sent the above group of photos and this new report:

West Seattle can’t wish away the plight of those affected by homelessness and mental illness by looking the other way. Public parks are becoming uninhabitable as safe play areas for our youth, and natural habitat is being destroyed.

(L-R) 1. Signage warning squatters to vacate at a small encampment at Lincoln Park Annex remains after much of the belongings were removed.

2. Prior to the posting a considerable amount of debris and property became part of the park’s view looking at the Olympics.

3. After the encampment removal porn mags and refuse remains at the encampment.

4. The Alaska Junction is not immune from homelessness and mental illness. This shows a pedestrian recently passing by a person sleeping in Jefferson Square’s landscaping.

Lincoln Park Annex is now formally known as Solstice Park; it includes the upslope east of the tennis courts that are along Fauntleroy northeast of the rest of Lincoln Park. Side note; the city hasn’t called attention to this West Seattle cleanup (nor the one last month, though we were provided information when we pursued it) the same way as, for example, a recent Queen Anne cleanup (which even got this official news release on the city website).

West Seattle High School burglary update: More arrests

Five people now have been arrested for the break-in early yesterday at West Seattle HS (original WSB report here, followed by a comment explaining that “the burglars stole items from our special-education students”). Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct just provided these details: “During the initial incident, one arrest was made of an adult West Seattle High school student. He brought the four other other West Seattle High students into the SW Precinct around 2 pm yesterday. All of the student/suspects are cooperating with both detectives and the school. All property is in the process of being returned.”

Reader report: Tree blocking section of 48th SW

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Katie sends word of a tree down across both lanes of 48th SW “on the hill between Holly and Graham” (map). 11:43 AM UPDATE: As of our drive-by about 10 minutes ago, the road is still blocked off; this is the section of 48th that runs between Lowman Beach and Seaview. We just added a photo we took around 10:15; one of the crews on the scene told us it appeared that “two half-dead trees” had somehow come into conflict and one ultimately came down.

Crime Watch: Latest reports; plus, hear from the new captain

Before we get to the latest highlights of reports from the Southwest Precinct, we wanted to mention you have two chances today to hear from Captain Joe Kessler, who has been running the SWP for more than two months now (we first caught up with him on his first day in the office, April 9th): At 2 pm today, he and other SW Precinct leaders will be at City Hall downtown to brief the City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee on crime trends and other issues/achievements in our area; you can watch live on the Seattle Channel (on-air or online), and we’ll be there to cover it, too. handcuffs_2.jpgThen tonight at 7 pm, Capt. Kessler will be at the monthly West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting — which always includes an all-star lineup of local police leaders, but he hasn’t had a chance to join them yet. This is also the monthly meeting where you can come ask police about any concerns in your neighborhood; a new name likely will be chosen before the night’s out, too (here’s our report on previous suggestions); you can see the agenda here — including a list of phone numbers you might want to keep handy for neighborhood nuisances as well as crime-related problems. Now, on to a few notable incidents from reports processed over the last several days (there’s often a day or more of lag time, so this doesn’t include incidents from most of Sunday, or Monday), including two scam reports and the latest home/car break-ins:Read More

Admiral postal station closing after a quarter-century

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That’s longtime West Seattle businessman Verne Valentine with (left to right in front) Janet Ives, Tina McLauchlan, and Linda Bagocki. They’re smiling but it’s not an entirely cheery time – Verne e-mailed WSB to ask that we share the news that the U.S. Postal Station that’s been at the same location as his Farmers’ Insurance office at 2237 California SW (north of Admiral) is closing next month after 25 1/2 years. He explains, “The U.S. Postal Service has drastically changed the operation parameters to the extent that Farmers Insurance Agency personnel have been forced to discontinue the association.” He says the postal annex will be ending operations July 12th but his Farmers’ Insurance office is not affected and, in fact, is expanding into the space that won’t be needed for postal operations any more.

Jail-sites fight: City releases evaluation criteria for rejected sites

Last week, new Highland Park Action Committee chair Dorsol Plants told the 34th District Democrats (WSB coverage here) that the city had agreed to disclose the reasons 31 sites were dropped from the semi-finalist list of 35 sites (now down to 4, including two in southeast West Seattle). Today, the city sends word that information is posted online (read it here). 6:47 PM UPDATE: Two more jail-sites-related notes — The County Council Committee of the Whole was briefed today on the proposal to extend the county’s contract with cities while a “regional” solution to the jail problem is pursued; the county’s update says no action was taken and the proposal “remains in committee.” Also, we have added a new “category” tag here on WSB for our archived coverage of the jail-sites issue, dating back to the announcement of the “finalists” list six weeks ago; here’s the direct link to all our stories, newest to oldest (you can find it again any time from the “Categories” list toward the end of the sidebar to the right). ADDED AT 9:09 PM: We also have word tonight from HPAC that there’s an e-petition available for online “signing” to express opposition to the jail sites – you can find it here.

Reader report: Water balloon hits car on Fairmount

Just in from Molly, who’s also of course alerting police:

Just a few minutes ago (4:14 to be exact) I was driving up Fairmount Avenue from the beach when my windshield was hit by a water balloon. It wasn’t from the bridge above as I was more south than that. Just wanted to let you know…

And this sort of thing isn’t exactly harmless child’s play, as noted in a similar report we published two months ago.