West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to the reader who tipped us that Toshi’s Teriyaki in Westwood Village had been broken into on Saturday morning. We obtained the report narrative from police today. According to the report, an alarm at the restaurant led to a police dispatch at 5:43 am. They found the glass shattered in the left entry door. When the store manager arrived, they looked at security video, which showed two people approaching the door just after 4:30 am, and one throwing a large rock through it. They left in a vehicle, and moments later another vehicle returned; two people got out of it and entered the restaurant, but weren’t inside for long before turning and leaving without taking anything. The report has only clothing descriptions for the people involved; the rock-thrower was described as “wearing a gray beanie, black jacket, gray sweats, and white sneakers”; the two who went into the restaurant are described as one “wearing a black jacket, dark-colored cap, dark pants, and black shoes or boots, carrying a black plastic bag in his right hand” and the other “wearing all-dark clothing with black and white tennis shoes.” If you have any information, the case number is 22-036584.
ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: While on an errand at Westwood Village this morning, we noticed the work under way in the parking lot immediately south of the Post Office. That’s for the playground that’ll be used by kids from the new preschool/day-care center that the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) is opening nearby. We first reported on the preschool plan almost exactly two years ago; back in November, we published a look inside the space as the remodeling work approached completion. The center will serve more than 120 kids when fully enrolled. We’re checking on the latest projection for when it’ll open.
ADDED SATURDAY: Center director Jill Mudge tells WSB, “We officially opened January 31st and have children already attending and each week add more children to our school. Families have been so happy to have us open. We are hoping to do an open house in mid March or early April.”
Two changes at Westwood Village:
CHICO’S CLOSES: Thanks for the tip! The Westwood Village clothing store Chico’s has closed. We reported last month that a site plan filed with the city showed America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses going into that space, though Chico’s hadn’t (at the time) announced its closure.
XFINITY OPENS: After photographing the shuttered Chico’s store, we turned around and noticed the new Xfinity store is open:
The staff told us this is opening day. We first reported almost nine months ago that this store was on the way. Hours are 10 am-8 pm daily except Sundays, when the store will be open 11 am-8 pm.
A coffee stand opens next Friday at 35th/Barton. And this little stand has a big backstory.
In the photo is Melanie Robbins, a West Seattle resident who is opening Animated Café in the Tony’s Market lot on the northeast corner of the intersection. She wants other young people to know you can chart your own path. She dropped out of high school just before the pandemic and went into training to be a barista (eventually getting her GED). Instead of going to work for somebody else’s coffee shop, she’s launching her own. She says a year and a half of online studies inspired many of her peers to “carve their own path in the world” too. In email before we spoke by phone, she wrote:
…I’ve watched nearly every one of my friends pursue an alternative lifestyle in order to feel less stuck in a world that seems to have forgotten about them. That means getting a job and fast-tracking their adult lives. The world that has historically valued school as the primary way of learning, and that has been disrupted. We are inspired by social media, do our research on Google, and learn how to make things on YouTube. School was day care for most kids prior to COVID. It turned into a joke during the pandemic instead of being the educational resource it is promised to be
I dropped out of high school 4 months before the pandemic started. Counter to social norms and expectations I felt extremely fortunate because this gave me a massive head start. While getting my GED I joined a program called Fare Start which taught me how to be a barista. At 16, when the pandemic started, I already had my high school equivalency, a job, and was enrolling in college all while my peers were facing the harsh reality of loneliness, fear, & a complete loss of structure. For the first time I felt like an outsider looking in. I had a clear mission, “Save as much money as possible, start a business, and take control of my life.” This seemed different from everyone else I knew at school, but I hope I can be a model for this generation of high-school students who feel stuck in time.
While in lockdown I fortified my love for everything animated. Disney+ just came out, and Hulu and Netflix had a deep library of anime. I always loved this genre of entertainment, and its popularity seemed to spike during the pandemic since people have been stuck at home looking for new shows to watch and mangas to read. 2 years later I have put every dime I earned toward that goal of taking control of my life in a world that seems so out of control. On February 4th Animated Cafe will become a reality, and I think more people my age should do the same thing versus waiting for the world to care.
She has advice for other would-be entrepreneurs, too, and it’s all on the Animated Café website. Starting next Friday, she invites you to come see what her hard work and planning has created. The “animated” theme will feature the proprietor serving guests as “Ana,” a costumed (“family-friendly”) character. “It’s going to be fun!” she promises. She’s planning to serve Dillano’s Coffee and pastries and sandwiches from Seattle’s Favorite. Animated Café will be drive-up, ride-up, or walk-up, 5 am to 5 pm for starters, until she sees what makes sense with the customer flow.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a felony charge, attempted first-degree kidnapping, in last Friday night’s six-hour standoff at the Westwood Village Target store. As we reported that night, and in a Saturday followup, SWAT officers arrested 31-year-old Timothy A. Clemans after entering the store where he had been alone, with a knife, after customers and staff evacuated. The charge filed against Clemans this afternoon refers to one specific person he is accused of approaching early in the incident, a store employee who says he told her she was “a hostage” and moved toward her with the knife. She got away. As we reported in our followup, just one week earlier, a judge released Clemans from jail over prosecutors’ objections after he was arrested downtown for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The court documents say that three days after that – five days before the Westwood incident – Clemans, a Burien resident, called 911 “making threats against Target stores in Seattle and the surrounding area.” Today’s court documents note that his conviction history includes “Felony Harassment (2020), Assault in the Third Degree (2020), Displaying Weapon (2021), Assault in the Fourth Degree (2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2016, 2016), Violation of a No Contact Order (2018), and Harassment (2016).” He remains in the King County Jail, bail set at $100,000.
12:02 PM: Police are outside the Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool/Neighborhood Center building, investigating reports of gunfire involving people in two vehicles. No injuries are reported; police say witnesses reported the vehicles left the parking lot afterward, with at least one possibly seen northbound on 27th SW from SW Thistle. We’ve only caught one partial description, a “black sedan.” We’re checking on a report that nearby Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School are sheltering in place as a result. (Update: Confirmed.)
12:11 PM: Police have told dispatch they’ve found one shell casing “next to the community center.” The center is on the north side of a large lot that also is shared by Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (on its east side) and the city’s public COVID testing site (on its south side).
12:21 PM: Just talked with police at the scene (who are about to leave). The shell casing was found in the fire-lane area near the parking-lot gate.
12:25 PM: Police have just told dispatch it’s OK for the schools to end the shelter-in-place.
12:29 PM: Minutes later, police reported they found more casings “outside the community center.”
6:54 PM: Here’s the preliminary summary from SPD:
It was reported that one car cut off the other as they both entered the parking lot of The Southwest Athletic Center/COVID Testing site. The passenger of the vehicle that had been cut off got out of the car and fired one round. Vehicle one fled E/B on SW Thistle St. The suspect vehicle followed and then fired more rounds at vehicle one. Both cars then drove in different directions. No one was hit at the time of this (report) and there was no property damage. Evidence of (gunfire) was located.
5:55 PM: Police are at Westwood Village dealing with a person in crisis at or near Target. No reports of injuries so far but avoid that side of the center.
6:19 PM: Police are still talking with the person, who is reported to have a knife. They confirmed to us at the scene that everyone else was able to leave the store and the person is the only one inside. He’s someone with whom police are familiar from other similar incidents.
7:20 PM: Not resolved yet.
8:37 PM: No change. Police report they’re in intermittent contact by phone. We went back over for a look; the east half of the center is not affected.
9:55 PM: Standoff continues, after four hours.
11:13 PM: Sixth hour now, no change.
12:22 AM: SWAT officers have taken the man into custody inside the store. They entered the store after negotiators had spent hours talking to him, off and on, by phone. No injuries reported so far but medics will be called to check him out, as officers used a Taser. We mentioned above that police are familiar with this man from other incidents; among them was this one almost exactly a year ago at the same store.
If you’re wondering about a big police response happening at Westwood Village right now – it involves what was described as a man with a sword outside the Chase branch at the center’s southwest end. Radio exchanges between dispatch and officers indicate it’s resolving quickly, though – the man is reported to be in custody after dropping the sword.
9:31 PM TUESDAY: Two mail-related notes tonight:
STILL MISSING MAIL DELIVERY? Though the snow’s mostly melted, we’re still hearing from some readers that they haven’t seen U.S.Postal Service mail since before Christmas. It may not just be the weather – one reader near The Junction, for example, says a neighbor finally got mail today from a fill-in carrier who said their regular person was out with COVID. Last week, a commenter reported being told about short-staffing. Other reports of skipped deliveries are from all over the peninsula – Fairmount Springs, Gatewood, Westwood, Admiral, Arbor Heights, to name a few; the missing deliveries were mentioned repeatedly in various comment threads this past week, and this week we’ve been getting email reports. We’ve tried repeatedly to get official comment from USPS, but so far, no reply. The last official regional statement was this on December 28th, urging people to help ensure carriers’ winter safety. (ICYMI, one West Seattle neighborhood even rescued a USPS van on Sunday.)
WESTWOOD BOX OUT OF SERVICE AGAIN: Just a few weeks after it was replaced and reopened, the drive-up/ride-up mailbox outside the Westwood Village post office is out of service again.:
1 PM WEDNESDAY: We just visited the Westwood post office and noticed the box is untaped, re-locked, and back in service.
Thanks for the tips. Bed Beth & Beyond has just sent out promotional emails announcing that its Westwood Village store is closing and that a clearance sale is under way. We went over to the store to confirm the closure. Staff there says there’s no exact date set yet – the closing sale is actually being handled by a contracted firm and the timeline depends on how the clearance sale goes. The chain announced in summer of 2020 that it would close 200 stores within two years, We’re seeking more information from the company as well as from the center’s new management and will add anything more we find out. This is the first major Westwood Village closing since 24 Hour Fitness one year ago.
1:26 AM: So far we have two reports that power’s out in Arbor Heights. Flickered here in Upper Fauntleroy, Not on City Light map yet. Anyone else out?
1:29 AM: Add Fauntlee Hills.
1:32 AM: The outage is mapped now – 4,880 customers, mostly southwest West Seattle.
1:39 AM: No cause yet but a few people report it was preceded by a “boom.” We noticed the wind kicking up. (The forecast was updated again after 9:30 pm and notes “Gusts to 30 mph after midnight.”)
2:24 AM: One hour in. No word on the cause yet.
2:31 AM: Just got a text about restored power in Arbor Heights. (added) Commenters from other areas, too.
2:36 AM: Map shows the outage is down to just under 1,000 customers. Mostly Sunrise Heights, and a bit of Gatewood, plus a stretch along SW Holden reaching into Highland Park. Updated map:
3:43 AM: And after a little more than two hours, everybody else is back on. We’ll follow up later this morning with SCL regarding the cause.
11:37 AM: Just got that info from SCL’s Julie Moore: “The cause was a large tree that came down on our lines just south of SW Juneau and 26th Ave SW. Initially the outage at 1:22 a.m. impacted 4,879 customers, but within about an hour we were able to determine it was safe to re-energize a large section of our system as the crews continued to patrol and locate the issue. Once they did, the remaining 982 customers were restored by 3:30 a.m.”
Thanks to Noelle for the tip! Seven months have passed since we first reported that an Xfinity (Comcast) store was planned for the heart of Westwood Village, and the company has finally put “coming soon” signage in the windows. After we noticed the early permit filings in May, a company spokesperson confirmed this would be one of their “standard retail stores.” We’ll be checking again on a projected opening date. Meantime, as we also reported in May, that section of WWV is still planned for a Pet Supplies Plus store – permits continue proceeding through the system.
Also at WWV, something new-but-not-entirely-new has resurfaced – America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, which we noted was pursuing a space in that central building 2 1/2 years ago, now has permit filings for the “E” building to the west – in the space currently occupied by Chico’s, according to the site-plan document (we’ll be checking with that company tomorrow – that space hadn’t even been publicly listed for lease).
Thanks to Nicole for the tip and photo! Less than a week after we reported the Westwood Village post office’s drive-up/ride-up mailbox was damaged and out of commission, it’s been replaced. The new one arrived sometime since Friday, which is when we last checked to see if the old one had been removed yet. That’s a new record for replacement – earlier this year the outage lasted about three weeks; in 2015 and 2017-18, replacing the mailbox took about four months.
Thanks to Colby for tweeting the photo and tip – the drive-up/ride-up mailbox outside the Westwood Village post office is out of service again. This is less than four months after the last time it was damaged and removed; that time, it was back after less than a month, but some previous damage-related removals have lasted a lot longer.
Thanks for the tips (including Mark, who also sent the photo): Southbound 26th SW has reopened between SW Barton and SW Roxbury. That’s the first time in almost four months that the stretch of 26th has been open both ways. It’s been rebuilt – one direction at a time – to better withstand the constant pounding it takes from buses. It’s been a years-long problem, with neighbors complaining their homes shook when buses passed on the flimsier pavement.
Almost two years (and one pandemic) after the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) announced its plan for a new preschool/child-care center on the north side of Westwood Village, it’s finally getting ready to open. We toured the space with its director, Jill Mudge:
She’s worked with the Y in West Seattle for 29 years and is excited about not just how the new center is coming together, but about what it will be like to work with 124 kids ages 4 weeks through 5 years. “It will be amazing to watch their growth.” The rooms at the center are spread across two levels of what used to be a vision clinic. Even former patients wouldn’t recognize the configuration – walls have been moved and removed to create the big, bright rooms.
The West Seattle area has desperately needed more chlid-care/preschool options, Mudge says – some couples whose babies haven’t arrived yet are already on a waitlist. Each infant room will have two staffers caring for up to eight babies.
While most of the rooms are age-specific, there’s also flexible space where smaller groups can have lessons, The preschool instructors will teach with The Creative Curriculum:
You might notice in that photo that some books are in Spanish – Mudge says they’ll have some bilingual instructors who can teach in Spanish as well as English. Lots of opportunities to play, too.
That includes outdoor play – by the time the center opens, an expansive playground will be set up a short walk away, in what’s currently little-used parking-lot space immediately south of the Westwood post office. Mudge also foresees the Y’s facility being a boon for the shopping center, too, with an infusion of families shopping and dining before/after picking up or dropping off their little ones. The center’s even designed with hygiene in mind – two little tot-height sinks close to the entry:
They’re expecting to be open by the end of January, 6:30 am-6 pm weekdays. Right now, the Y is offering tours of the space and taking applications – go here to find out more.
Until 5:30 pm, Daystar Retirement Village (2615 SW Barton; WSB sponsor) welcomes donations at its drive-up/ride-up food drive. The “Friendsgiving” drive is collecting food for the White Center Food Bank. Daystar is right across the street from Westwood Village [here’s a map]. The most-wanted items are listed on the Daystar website. If you donate, you’ll be offered a gift in return – Friendship Soup mix!
Here’s another way to share your bounty with neighbors in need, if you can, as Thanksgiving approaches – Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor) has a drive-through food drive this Wednesday, 3:30-5:30 pm. Bring donations for the White Center Food Bank to Daystar at 2615 SW Barton [map], right across the street from Westwood Village. A list of the most-wanted items are on the Daystar website.
Police summaries published today include an armed robbery at the 35th/Barton 7-11, second one there in three months (we reported on a holdup there in August). Police say it happened around 11:30 Wednesday night, and that the robber entered the store, “brandished a handgun, pointed it at the clerk, and demanded money … then fled the store on foot with money and the till.” A K-9 team was brought in for the search but the robber was not found; the summary does not include a description.
Just before the pandemic wiped most other concerns off the map for a long time, in February of last year, a “stakeholders meeting” shone the spotlight on endangered Roxhill Bog (part of Roxhill Park). Now the struggle to save it is back on the front burner, and another community meeting is planned. Here’s the announcement/update from the Duwamish Alive Coalition:
The second public meeting for the community led restoration of Roxhill Bog will be held online November 17th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, to provide an update on the hydrology study of why the wetland has been drying out and possible solutions along with the results of the community survey that was conducted. The online link to the meeting can be accessed by registering through DNDA.org or Duwamishalive.org
Roxhill Bog is one of the last peat wetlands of the historical 26 within Seattle, dating back 10,000 years and home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals. It’s also the headwaters of Longfellow Creek and an important community asset where the community can experience and learn about nature. Over the last couple decades, it has been drying out, which has significantly degraded its ecosystem – with increased invasive plants, loss of wildlife, and unsuitable usage of the area creating safety concerns.
Community members, alarmed about the loss of this community treasure, created a collaborative partnership with the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, Duwamish Alive Coalition, Roxhill Champions, and American Rivers to help restore the bog wetland. With help from Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. the partnership was able to acquire funding for the hydrology and soil studies and the community survey, which received over 260 responses, and restoration design.
The November 17th public meeting will review the results of the studies, and community survey and seek input on the restoration design. This is an important opportunity for the community to provide comments about the project and their hopes for the wetlands’ future.
For backstory, see our report on last year’s meeting. There’s also a lot of background on this webpqge assembled by the now-dormant Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council.
The next school dine-out fundraiser sent in for the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar is this Sunday. If you mention Lincoln Park Co-op Preschool when ordering takeout that day (October 10th) from MOD Pizza at Westwood Village, they’ll get a share of the proceeds from your order. The restaurant is open 10:30 mm-10 pm, on the south side of the shopping center (2800 SW Barton).
Back in February, a three-hour SWAT standoff played out at Westwood Village, ending with two arrests. Rafael Meyers and Jerry Plute Jr. were eventually charged with second-degree burglary for breaking into the building east of Target, punching holes through the walls between Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor), Sport Clips, and the vacant space north of them, stealing a gun among other things. Meyers was arrested first; Plute eventually was taken into custody on the roof. The two were let out of jail after one day, when a judge declined prosecutors’ request to set bail. Seven and a half months later, Plute has reached a plea bargain and will be sentenced tomorrow, while court documents indicate that an agreement is in the works for Meyers. Plute, a 35-year-old Top Hat resident, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, first-degree criminal trespass (a gross misdemeanor), and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending a suspended 1-year sentence when Plute, who has no felony convictions, appears before King County Superior Court Judge David Steiner tomorrow afternoon. The files do not indicate yet what’s in the potential plea bargain for Meyers, but it may include other cases, as the notation on the most recent hearing notes mention a “global disposition.” Meyers has other burglary cases pending including a burglary at Peel & Press in Morgan Junction last year.