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Design Commission says Alki Liberty Plaza should be simpler


We’re at City Hall, where the city Design Commission is about to hear a presentation on the Myrtle Reservoir park design, but just finished hearing and voting on the first presentation of the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza design (same design that’s been circulating through months of fundraising, but this is the first time it’s come before an official city voting panel). Bottom line: Commissioners say it needs to be a lot simpler, with the focus on the statue and its new base, rather than other elements, reminiscent of some community concerns voiced at the Alki Bathhouse meeting last September. (See some of the original design sketches on the sealady.org site.) Many more details later. 9:51 PM ADDITION: Here are those details, including a new timetable for completing the project:Read More

Watch your doorknob – you might be getting a tree

This is a fairly long story involving city crews planting trees and a Seaview resident who says she had no idea one was headed her way until it turned up in her parking strip – here’s her story, plus the city response:Read More

Southwest District Council: Neighborhood Street Fund proposals

April 3, 2008 2:20 pm
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 |   Southwest District Council | Transportation | West Seattle news

Controversy aside, the Alki sidewalk plan (last night’s coverage here) is just one of the projects that originate from an intensive process that involves neighborhood groups pitching the city for a share of a limited amount of $ available for local street/safety-related projects. It’s called the Neighborhood Street Fund, and it’s the time of year when the project pitches are making progress. Last night at the monthly meeting of the Southwest District Council — at which many West Seattle neighborhood groups and other organizations are representatives — a committee announced which ones it’s pitching for the next round of money available for NSF projects in SWDC jurisdiction: Speed-slowing signs for Admiral like the one on Fauntleroy by Lincoln Park (showing how fast you’re driving, as you approach); sidewalk improvements in front of the new Morgan Junction park; safety improvements for those walking through Orchard Street Ravine; a new walkway into the Duwamish Greenbelt south of the Admiral Viewpoint; and a walkway to Solstice Park at 44th/Fontanelle. Next step is for the city to review the list and to see which ones advance to the next round.

Fauntleroy Church bell-ringing plan: The sound of history

April 3, 2008 12:35 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news | West Seattle religion


Judy Pickens shares that historic photo of Fauntleroy Church and its bell tower, along with word that the church will begin 100 days of bell-ringing — every day at noon — starting Saturday, April 19, in honor of the church’s centennial observance. The 100 days will take the observance up to the anniversary of Fauntleroy Church’s first-ever service (July 26). Judy says, “Folks are signing up to ring the bell as a family, to observe a wedding anniversary, to memorialize a loved one, etc.” She also notes, “In the early days, the bell was also rung to alert people to a fire in the neighborhood. In fact, after our evening wedding in 1978, Phil and I rang the bell and a nearby church member came down to see what the emergency was!” So that’s why they’re getting the word out now – make a note that if you’re in the Fauntleroy area, you’ll hear bells daily at noon April 19-July 26. The centennial celebration the weekend of July 25-27 will feature major events including a Friday night community bean feed reprising the event that Judy says was “a community staple through WWII,” vespers on the beach afterward (reprising the beach gatherings that sparked the idea of building a church), a formal Saturday dinner for present/past church members and invited clergy, featuring the premiere of the forthcoming Fauntleroy documentary. We told you earlier this year about the search for a producer for that production; the hire’s been made, and here’s the announcement Judy wrote for the Fauntleroy Church newsletter:Read More

New Admiral development proposal, north of PCC

This one has just appeared on the city’s “Design Review/Upcoming” page, with an “early design guidance” meeting set for April 24: 2743 California, site of a duplex that had been up for sale a long time, set fairly far back from the street between the north side of PCC and the south side of the mixed-use building with Freshy’s among others. County records show it sold for $985,000 in late February; now it’s proposed for demolition and replacement with what’s described on the official city project page as “a 3-4 story structure with 15,000 sq ft. of medical office (…) Parking for 10 vehicles to be located below grade.” (Reminder, before we get to that Design Review Board meeting in three weeks, next Thursday is the DRB meeting at Chief Sealth HS for two major Junction-area projects: the Conner Homes buildings @ California/Alaska/42nd and the Harbor Properties building at 38th/Alaska.)

Silver sliver over The Junction


WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli shot that around 6 am.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglaries update; sign stolen

First, an update on the 37th SW burglaries reported here last night, from Block Watch Captain Karen:

The timeframe for the burglary in the 5000 block of 37th [last night] was sometime in the late afternoon/early evening, before 7:30 PM. One neighbor (who wishes to remain anonymous) told me today that, in hindsight, he may have seen the vehicle & one of the burglars around 5 PM. He has provided a report to the police.

The second burglary was in the north end of the 5200 block of 37th. The owners e-mailed to say that the burglars kicked in their French doors in the back of the house for entry. They ransacked the house, turned over the bed, went into pantry, closets, dressers, etc. They took items that were easy to take. The burglars put their dog in a bedroom & closed the door. One of the owners reports seeing a gray/silver color car with 4 teenage boys in it around noon, driving slowly & suspiciously on 37th. The burglary at their house took place in the afternoon between 1 & 4:30.

Also, a theft report to pass along, from BJ:

Just noticed that our street sign corner of Alaska and 50th is gone today. I caught some teenagers in the act a couple of years ago but didn’t catch them this time. It took 2 years to get a new sign the first time it was stolen.

BJ has since checked with the city, and is hopeful a replacement will arrive sooner this time, as her neighborhood is slated for those bigger street signs that have already been installed in many West Seattle neighborhoods (by the way, the old signs are still for sale).

34th/Morgan crossing concerns: First city followup

We told you yesterday about an exchange at the City Council Pedestrian Safety Committee meeting regarding school-crossing safety concerns at 34th/Morgan in High Point (as we documented in this video report in January). During that meeting yesterday, an SDOT manager vowed his staff would visit the intersection “by the end of the day.” So did they? He didn’t answer us directly but apparently forwarded the inquiry to SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner, who e-mailed us this evening:

We did send staff out to 34th and Morgan yesterday. School was out so not much was happening at the time. We will address the parking issues and will coordinate with the school district when classes resume.

We had also left a message asking about an SDOT crew that Ken reported (in comments here) he had spotted a block away; didn’t get an answer on that, will try again.

Bulletin: Alki sidewalk opponents suggest they’ll sue

Just back from the contentious Alki Community Center meeting where SDOT briefed community members on two options for completing the segmented sidewalk on the north side of Alki Ave from the west end of Alki Beach Park to the spot where the unbroken sidewalk picks up again just south of Alki Point. Most of the residents along the affected stretch of Alki Ave want to keep the status quo, which the city says is not an option; at the end of the meeting, after one attendee said “What would it take to just stop this process?” and Sandra Woods from SDOT said she couldn’t answer that, neighbor Charles Turbak announced he’s starting an opposition group with the goal of hiring a lawyer to stop the project. Stand by for more details from the meeting. ADDED 11:22 PM: Here are those details:Read More

Door-to-door solicitor alert

Just in from WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli:

My neighborhood near the Junction (4500 block of 41st between Alaska and Oregon) was canvassed about 5pm this afternoon by a shady door to door solicitor. The young woman said she was from “American National” and when I asked for ID she produced only a few pages of cheaply laminated materials. She claimed she was fundraising for youth leadership. When I asked for ID or a business card she said that she didn’t have any but that her “van handler” did. I asked her to leave and immediately called the SPD non-emergency number. They took a description and thanked me for filing the report.

Remember, solicitors have to have licenses and ID. Here’s the city code. ADDED 9:23 PM: Christopher also got a photo of the solicitor, zooming in on a subsequent stop she made down the block. Click for the pic:Read More

Bulletin: Charlestown Court vote – NOT a landmark



(1st photo from King County Assessor; 2nd by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)

We’re at the Municipal Tower downtown, where the Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted NOT to designate the brick fourplex at 3811 California (across from Charlestown Cafe) as a city landmark. Pending final decisions on permitting matters, this theoretically clears the way for it to be razed and replaced with a four-story building, apartments over retail. Full details a bit later on why a majority of the board voted no (only three voted in favor of making it a landmark, including board chair Stephen Lee). ADDED 9:50 PM: As promised, here are more details from the meeting and the discussion before the vote:Read More

The Grouchos are back!

Just spotted in the bluffside greenery north of the incline on the eastbound side of The Bridge — the Grouchos are back. The photo above is from last year; they’re in the same spot (April is also when they appeared last year; by early May ’07 they were gone.)

New captain in charge @ Southwest Precinct

April 2, 2008 2:50 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle people | West Seattle police

kessler.jpgWe told you in late February about the impending transition, and now it’s happened. After almost 3 years, Captain Mike Fann has left the Southwest Precinct and is now in charge of the Traffic Division, and Captain Joe Kessler (left) is now in charge of the SWP. His bio is now on the precinct website too; read it here.

New city crackdown proposed: Bag tax, foam ban

It’s been in the works for a while and now there’s an official proposal: The city is proposing a 20-cent tax on disposable shopping bags, and a ban on foam containers. Read about it here. (By the way, one last reminder – the first meeting of CoolMoms in West Seattle, profiled here, is tonight.)

Happening this afternoon and tonight

April 2, 2008 12:00 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts


3:30 pm today, 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown, it could be Charlestown Court’s last stand when the city Landmarks Preservation Board considers landmark status for the exterior architecture of the 81-year-old brick fourplex at 3811 California, a process we’ve been reporting on since last October (most recent coverage here). It’s open to public comment if you want to speak; we’ll be there to cover the meeting and will let you know ASAP what happens. A few hours later, at an Alki meeting, the question will be – what will happen west of this end of the Alki Ave sidewalk?


The city’s presenting alternatives tonight, after a previous concept sparked an uproar among neighbors and some additional city brainstorming, and there’s a public meeting at Alki Community Center starting at 6:30 tonight. Also tonight at 6:30, traffic-calming issues in North Delridge are on the agenda for the North Delridge Neighborhood Council at Delridge Library, with Luke Korpi, SDOT Traffic Management Division Senior Civil Engineer, on hand; also at Delridge Library, right before that, the High Point Neighborhood Association’s Pedestrian Safety Committee meets at 5 pm. And last but not least, if you are in the mood for entertainment:


… it’s opening night for “The Dead Guy” at ArtsWest. In this photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham, reality TV cameraman Dougie (Bill Badgley) startles store clerk Virgil (Paul Bergman). Read all about the production here; get ticket info here. “The Dead Guy” runs through April 20.

Charlestown Cafe reopening-repair progress: No official date yet

Friday is the two-month anniversary of the fire that (temporarily) shut down the Charlestown Cafe, ccfiresmall.jpgironically just five days after we had reported the news that the most recent development project appeared to be on terminal hold. So we just checked in minutes ago with Ron Hanlon, co-owner of Charlestown Cafe, to see how repair work is going – when last we heard from co-owner Larry Mellum two weeks ago, when he announced the landlord had agreed to go ahead with fire repairs, he had hoped it would take about a month from that time to reopen. But according to what Hanlon just told us this morning, looks like it’s going to be a little longer than that. He says they’re still waiting for a couple things including a permit for the work. He’s hoping they will be able to set a firm date within a week or so. (You can find our archived Charlestown Cafe coverage, including the development controversy, the fire, and the recovery, by going here.)

West Seattle Wednesday scenes: Fixing up, tearing down

April 2, 2008 10:22 am
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 |   Development | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks


Activity this morning at Dakota Place Park north of The Junction — glass-company crews working on the windows. Next: Thanks to Patricia for the tip that the teardown crews had arrived at the Alki cottage whose impending demolition we mentioned just the other day (6106 Stevens; (map; project pages here and here). The white rectangle in the middle of the first photo is what’s left of a central chimney (we happened by during a break in the action about an hour ago). The “before” picture from two days ago is the second photo below (some stripping obviously had already occurred).



1 park note, 2 park pix

THE NOTE: As first mentioned last month, today and tomorrow are the days West Seattle’s only official off-leash park area, Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area, will be completely closed, so the Parks Department can do maintenance work. It’s scheduled to reopen Friday.

THE PIX: Left over from Tuesday but too good not to share now. First, taken by Meredith @ Lincoln Park:


Second, Forrest P captured pre-sunset rays @ Emma Schmitz Viewpoint on Beach Drive:


West Seattle Crime Watch: New burglary string reported

These two notes appear to add up to three burglaries – we will check with the Southwest Precinct first thing in the morning. In the meantime, wanted to get out the word. First, just in from Karen, who’s a Block Watch Captain in her area:

I wanted to let you know that there was a burglary in our Blockwatch area, the 5000 block of 37th SW, this evening. I believe that it occurred between 6 & 8 PM. We have also heard that there was a second break-in just one block south in the 5200 block of 37th.

The owners of the house in the 5000 block reported that their door was kicked in and the house was completely ransacked. A lot was taken, including jewelry and electronics. Also, two of their indoor cats were let out/escaped but have fortunately now been found.

This one came in a short time earlier from KP (and we were about to post it when Karen’s note came in):

I live on 37th Avenue SW and SW Brandon. I just talked with a neighbor on the 5200 block of 37th Ave SW who was burglarized today. She stated the whole house was tossed and they stole a TV, jewelry and a laptop. She said a house on the 5400 block had been broken into yesterday.

This area is southwest of The Mount, northeast of Fairmount Playfield. Here’s a map.

Don’t just “toss it”: West Seattle park recycling bins in place

April 1, 2008 8:14 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks


Spotted tonight at Alki while we were helicopter-watching – this bottle/can recycling bin by one of the picnic shelters along the promenade. As we’ve reported previously, West Seattle is one of two areas of the city where the Parks Department has just launched a pilot recycling program. Here are the specific West Seattle park places where you’ll find these bins.

That’s the ticket: West Seattle ways to help

April 1, 2008 5:30 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | WS & Sports

FROM THE WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK: Remember the Bruce Springsteen ticket auction to benefit WSFB? Eve Holt from the Food Bank e-mailed to say each pair of auctioned tickets went for $800! And when The Boss played KeyArena, a donation bin set up by WSFB volunteers collected more than $1,000 in cash and checks. You’ve got another chance to help WSFB this Saturday — we’ve mentioned before that because of the Feinstein Challenge, donations made now to the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks help them qualify for matching funds — this Saturday at Metropolitan Market in Admiral, WSFB will be accepting food and $ donations (the weight of food figures into a calculation for matching funds, too). And don’t forget, tickets are on sale for WSFB’s “Instruments of Change” fundraising dinner 6 pm May 1, with music, a Dessert Dash, and more (full details here, including reservation info).

FROM THE MARINERS, ON BEHALF OF WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL: West Seattle High School is playing at The Safe this Thursday night as part of the High School Baseball Classic — 7 pm, facing Kennedy High School. Admission is free and you’ll be able to park in the Safeco garage for $5 (and if you want to come early, it’s a doubleheader starting with Lakeside vs. Mercer Island at 4 pm). In order to participate, teams have to commit to a fundraising campaign involving selling tickets to a future M’s game, and as part of that, you can buy tickets for the June 3rd M’s-Angels game HALF PRICE! by going to this page – $10 for “view reserved” tickets that are usually $20, and $2 of the price goes to WSHS.

End of an era in The Junction: New owner for Quid’-nunc


Bill Hibler (right) has been synonymous with “West Seattle computer store” for more than a decade now, as proprietor of Quid’-nunc in The Junction. But that era’s ending, now that Mohamed Lahlou (left) has bought the store; the transition’s in progress and will continue over the next few weeks. You may already have seen the big banner up in the window for LaptopFix.com — that’s one of Lahlou’s businesses, along with A-1 Best Computer. Hibler’s not completely leaving the computer business — he’ll continue running his Internet service, Quidnunc.net (currently with more than 500 accounts), but he’ll manage it from his West Seattle home. And he notes that he’s an Excel expert with a background in accounting – so if anyone’s looking for that sort of expertise, look him up! (He’ll still be active with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and ArtsWest.) But he’s also looking forward to having more free time now, and told us his wife is looking forward to having him around more often. Hibler says Lahlou’s expertise is in repair and service, which is what more and more Quid’-nunc customers have been seeking rather than retail purchases of software and equipment, so the sale was a perfect fit.

What all those City Light crews are doing


When we saw half a dozen Seattle City Light trucks lined up along the west side of Fauntleroy yesterday, just west/southwest of Morgan Junction, we wondered what they were up to — especially remembering that the area where they were working, north of Holly, was one of the troublespots during the December 2006 windstorm outage (12/21/06 coverage here). Scott Thomsen from SCL checked it out for us and explains it’s “part of an upgrade in the service lines for that area. The crews are changing out a 4 Kilovolt line with a 26 Kilovolt line, which is our current standard. There are a couple dozen poles involved … and crews will be in the West Seattle area through the spring, then off and on through the summer continuing this work.” Today, they’re further east on Fauntleroy (this picture is from just past the Corner Inn):