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Also almost outta here: The Upper Fauntleroy sinkhole

October 12, 2007 2:16 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm | Fauntleroy | Utilities | West Seattle news


Sunday marks 10 months since the raucous rainstorm that preceded the wild windstorm. One of the first effects of the pounding rain on December 14th of last year was the Upper Fauntleroy sinkhole at Thistle/Northrop (above photo shows the site today). Save for a little cleanup, and a temporary bridge built in January so walkers could still use the Thistle hillside stairs, plus improvements to city storm drains nearby, the sinkhole has remained, gaping, barely cordoned off, ever since. But not for much longer; flyers have just appeared in the Seattle Public Utilities sign by the sinkhole, saying that “we have resolved the outstanding property issues and are ready to commence with the repair project. We are currently waiting for authorization from the State/FEMA … We are anticipating on receiving authorization within the next week.” The flyer says the sinkhole, which the city calls a “gully,” will be filled in with “structural fill.” It’s accumulated some unofficial fill over these long months:


As for how this work might affect you if you use this area — the city says it may start “quickly and on very short notice,” will take 4-5 days, will involve some traffic restrictions at that sharp corner, and most significantly (the city flyer puts it in bold, so we will too): The stairs will be temporarily closed during the duration of the repair work. Very popular for people walking to and from Lincoln Park, so plan alternate routes.

The demolition we’ve all been waiting for is almost here

This could be our last look at the burned-out ex-Schuck’s on the northwest corner of Cali/Charlestown — the demolition permit has just been granted. No backhoes yet when we went by an hour and a half ago, but another eyewitness report later spotted utility disconnections under way.


Future mixed-use project sketch here.

3727 California 4.jpg

WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli

Buildings on the block

New listing on the booming south end of Morgan Junction: 7025 California, currently home to Alki Mortgage, just steps from Caffe Ladro and Gatewood Elementary. Billed as “highly desirable multi-use opportunity”: $1.7 million. One more listing of note has been up a few weeks but we hadn’t gotten around to mentioning it: 9003-9007 35th, home to On Safari Foods and a martial-arts studio (though we will always remember it fondly as the ex-home of Bird on a Wire till that shop moved around the corner), $795,000.

Design reviewers to 4502 42nd: Don’t be the hulk on the hill

Long “early design guidance” meeting tonight — almost 2 hours — for the proposed mixed-use building we told you about last month at 4502 42nd SW, southeast corner of 42nd & Oregon, east edge of The Junction, where these small old homes now sit:


Discussion and concerns centered on two aspects of the project: Its size, and how traffic for the building will flow. At meeting’s end, Southwest Design Review Board members took the somewhat-uncommon step of telling the architect to come back for a second “early design guidance” meeting, meaning the project will ultimately go through at least three design-review meetings.Read More

Not open again, yet

Sunfish on Alki was posted as “closed Sept. 11 to Oct. 11.” It’s the 11th, and the sign’s gone, but they’re not open. Maybe that just meant “through” Oct. 11. We’ll check back tomorrow. Also, La Rustica hasn’t reopened yet, though as we reported earlier this week, the family says they’re determined to be open again in time for a big group that’s got a reservation for Saturday.

Roll out the red carpet: A premiere at the Admiral

As the new leadership at the Admiral Theater continues morphing it into much more than a second-run moviehouse, h&sposter.jpgthey’ve got local independent filmmakers premiering a movie there this Saturday. We talked (via e-mail) with co-director Damon Agnos of “Haymaker & Sally,” which he explains as: “If you liked ‘Starsky & Hutch’ but felt it needed more action; if you were thrilled by ‘Scarface’ but wished Tony would sponsor a Little League team; if you enjoyed ‘Serpico’ but wished he didn’t get shot in the face; if you always wanted ‘Miami Vice’ to do an episode where Crockett and Tubbs grill the kid behind the counter at the local Kinko’s, then ‘Haymaker & Sally’ is for you.” (Poster at right, designed by Andrew Miller.) So why premiere the movie in WS instead of the usual indy-film haunts (Capitol Hill, U-District, etc.)? Read on:Read More

Denny/Sealth: Next community meeting now confirmed

As promised at the somewhat contentious meeting we covered earlier this week regarding the Chief Sealth High School/Denny Middle School shared-campus project, another meeting is happening in short order: October 25th. School district liaison Eleanor Trainor explains, “(This) meeting will differ from the two general update meetings we’ve had. This meeting will focus on the pedestrian links and community initiatives for the Sealth campus. It will be an open forum for neighbors to discuss ideas about the exterior spaces and the campus’ connection to Longfellow Creek.” Here’s the official flyer:Read More

Gatewood Elementary rustles up “Kids for Kids’


If you have driven by the above-pictured greenery along Fauntleroy a couple blocks north of Lincoln Park, you might not know there’s an elementary school behind all that. But the fine folks of Gatewood Elementary have a plan to clear things up: Gatewood parent Steve White wrote to let us all know about the impending arrival — one week from today — of those beloved Rent-A-Ruminant goats (seen along Admiral back in July). Steve says the objective of the goats’ work October 18-21 is “to mow down a hillside of ivy as part of our playground renovation project. … The ivy removal is part of ridding the school grounds of invasive plant species, and restoring the native plants.” The Gatewood playground renovation, Operation Imagination, has been three years in the making and is going well thanks to donations of time and money as well as various grants; it will be spotlighted during a day of fun events while the goats are on site, “Kids for Kids,” 10 am-4 pm Saturday 10/20.

Traffic alert

October 11, 2007 8:00 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

Heading westbound on The Bridge up the Fauntleroy end, just passed a fresh two-car fender bender in the left eastbound lane. Traffic was starting to back up. Beware if you have to head out from that end of the The Bridge. 8:17 UPDATE: May not be causing too much headache; you can check Fauntleroy eastbound just past Alaska on this city cam.

No “Gathering” till next year

The community-connection organization Megawatt has called off this year’s “Gathering of Neighbors” showcase, which had been scheduled for November 3rd. An e-mail announcement sent out last night by Megawatt leaders says the group has been focused on a “strategic planning process” and adds: “We are incredibly proud of our community events and programs, and over the next few months will work to support these programs by focusing on and building our organizational infrastructure. As part of this process, we have made a strategic decision to postpone … Gathering of Neighbors until 2008.” Megawatt says it will continue offering its community “field trips,” including an artist-studio tour on October 25th; more info on the Megawatt website (and the listings are on our frequently updated West Seattle-wide Events page too). For anyone who already signed up for the now-canceled Gathering of Neighbors, Megawatt says it will refund the table fees within the next few days.

They’re not just going after “House” after all

Earlier this week, we discussed the notice (however official or unofficial) that frequent WSB contributor “The House” got on the windshield of his parked-on-the-planting-strip car in Westwood. At the time, he suggested that police should be focusing instead on the seemingly abandoned RVs lining nearby streets. Tonight, good news for “House” and neighbors — we spotted Seattle Police enforcers in action (on Trenton west of the Westwood Village turn-in) along RV Row:


KFC remodel: Sorry, no extra side dish


So sorry to disappoint the folks who have been e-mailing us asking if the remodel at the 35th/Avalon KFC is going to add a franchise from KFC’s sister brands, such as Taco Bell or A&W. We just checked with the regional offices of Harman Management, the owner/franchisee. Regional director John Margo was out but a spokesperson for him told us there are NO plans to make that location more than a KFC. They say the remodel (here’s all the specifics, from the city permit files, on exactly what it involves) is moving along well, though they are not sure how much longer it will take.

A few more days to go for La Rustica fire repair/remodel

A member of the family that runs the well-regarded Beach Drive Italian restaurant La Rustica had told us they hoped to reopen last night, after adding some remodeling work to the repairs following last month’s small fire. However, the work’s not quite done yet, so LR was still closed last night; our family contact says they are “working hard to open ASAP,” adding “the kitchen remodel is looking great!” and noting they have a big reservation for Saturday night & “intend to keep that reservation.”

Best food in the Seattle school district?

Dori, the Denny Middle School Lunch Lady, says that’s what she serves every day, and she invited the architects and school administrators overseeing the Denny-Sealth construction project to come have lunch. She was one of about 35 people who came to tonight’s overview of the latest plans for the Denny-Sealth shared-campus project with some serious concerns over the initial plans. The plan presented showed one kitchen which would serve both schools, to be located between the gym and the common areas. As Dori said – a kitchen with no windows or adequate ventilation is not a good idea. What she wants is for the planners and architects to see the existing Denny lunch room and kitchen, which she calls a “kitchen done right.”
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Denny-Sealth campus consolidation meeting: School sparks

October 9, 2007 8:47 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Just back from the school district-organized Denny-Sealth project update meeting at CSHS. Sparks flew, especially on the issue of why this meeting was called with only days’ notice. Another one is set for later this month. Our full report will be posted here later tonight.

Election countdown: 4 weeks away

Election Day is November 6 — exactly four weeks away. Discussion and debate are revving up, particularly regarding the biggest ballot measure in the election — Sound Transit/RTID Proposition 1, also known as “Roads and Transit.” Pros here, cons here, but, you may ask — what’s in it for West Seattle? You can get the full picture at the next meeting of Sustainable West Seattle, Monday night (October 15th) at Camp Long, during a Q/A forum with supporters and opponents. Meantime, the 34th District Democrats gather for their regular monthly meeting tomorrow night at The Hall @ Fauntleroy. They are not only making plans for getting out the vote in November — they also are dealing with their official role in the changing of the legislative guard in our area. The resignation of West Seattle’s State Senator Erik Poulsen is now official, and the 34th District Democrats must recommend proposed replacements to be appointed to the Senate seat till the next election. Precinct officers from around the district will gather this Saturday at High Point Community Center to formally recommend three possible appointees. West Seattle State Representative Joe McDermott is considered the leading candidate for that appointment; if he gets it, attention then moves to the House vacancy that would ensue. A candidates’ forum is expected to happen October 24th, probably also at The Hall @ Fauntleroy. The 34th DDs have tons of information about the Senate/House/etc. appointment process, including the 7 candidates who are seeking the potential House job, on this page.

Junction development watch: NOW there’s a meeting

October 9, 2007 4:50 pm
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 |   Development | West Seattle news

junctionteardown.jpgWhen we mentioned the other day that we had happened onto a teardown-to-mixed-use plan pending for 4515 44th (the site shown at right, across the street from the Junction parking lot that’s behind WaMu, the liquor store, etc.), we noted no Design Review Board meeting had been set yet. Today, that’s changed – the city website is now updated to say the Southwest DRB will meet on November 8th to review the plan.

What went on behind the yellow mesh

One month after the yellow mesh came off the remodeling project at Cal-Mor Circle (which we first mentioned in May), the cylindrical Seattle Housing Authority building in Morgan Junction, details of what happened inside as well as out are discussed in the latest issue of “The Voice” (see page 11).


The next big West Seattle retail trend?

We’ve had a cascade of cupcakes, a plethora of pet stores … now, perhaps, a surge of supplement shops. A year after Super Supplements moved into The Junction, a new permit granted for space in Westwood Village (we haven’t done the backwork yet to figure out which space “E8” refers to) reveals the impending arrival of “Fresh Vitamins.” A quick websearch shows they have several other outlets around the metro area.

Water Taxi future update: What the Ferry District Board did today

watertaxisailiconsize.jpgFollowing up on our report this morning about the King County Council meeting today as the Board of Directors for the new county Ferry District, which will operate the Water Taxi and other foot-ferry routes: The only action taken was the adoption of bylaws. The meeting video isn’t in the county’s online archives yet, but here’s the official press release:Read More

Most colorful pile of West Seattle teardown rubble ever

Just 4 days after we told you they got the permits, they brought in the demolition crew at the ex-Guadalajara Hacienda site this morning. Here’s all that’s left of the bright pink building and the vivid murals on its sides:


New glimpse into the Water Taxi’s potential future

As the Elliott Bay Water Taxi continues its extra bonus month of commuter runs (M-F through November 2nd, plus two Seahawks home game Sundays 10/14 and 10/21), we get a new peek into its possible future, courtesy of documents prepared for a meeting todaywatertaxisailiconsize.jpg — the King County Council, meeting as the county Ferry District Board. A draft PowerPoint presentation linked to the meeting agenda contains the following proposals (major disclaimer, they’re only proposals until and unless they get official approval): Pier 50 downtown as the permanent terminal for the Vashon and West Seattle (Water Taxi) runs that the Ferry District would operate; Seacrest continuing as the WT’s near-term home, also in contention as its longterm home (along with Pier 2); three vessels to be leased by the county for the first years of Ferry District operations — one for the Vashon/Seattle run, one for the WT, one as a backup. (The draft presentation also contains extensive details of proposals for the Vashon/Seattle run that the county will be taking over from the state, as well as for “demonstration runs” between Seattle and TBA locations on the Eastside — Kirkland or Bellevue — North King County, and South King County.) And it envisions the Water Taxi operating an “extended” season next year — March through October — then starting year-round operations in January 2009. Last but not least, the presentation also looks at how Ferry District service will be paid for, and what it will cost; part of the $ will come from a property-tax levy, with the rate yet to be set. Again, all this is from a draft presentation to be given to councilmembers during their meeting as the Ferry District board at 1:30 this afternoon; you should be able to watch on cable TV or online (KCTV link here), and of course we’ll continue to keep you updated on what happens next.

Targeted for teardown: 2 more

Cross-checking some of the city’s alternate methods for unearthing proposed projects (the Activity Locator is a fun time-killer), we happened onto a proposal we hadn’t noticed before. It seeks to take down two small Junction buildings including the one shown below (4515 44th, across from the big parking lot behind WaMu/liquor store/etc.), so a 4-story mixed-use building can be built in their place.


The city system indicates a design review meeting for this hasn’t been set yet; the only date of any kind listed in the online records is 5/29/07, when the fee for the “pre-application site visit” was paid, so we’re not sure how long this has been pending (it doesn’t seem to have appeared in any of the city Land Use Information Bulletins, at least not the ones we searched going back to this time last year). Meantime, a second teardown proposal, this one from inland Alki, a new yellow land-use application sign just went up on the northwest corner of 60th/Admiral:


The teardown-to-townhome proposal for this parcel dates back to March, but the application to subdivide the lot was just filed a few weeks ago, hence the yellow sign.