West Seattle, Washington
Westwood Art Studio (9042 31st SW) is one of nine stops on this weekend’s West Side Artists studio tour. Each stop hosts multiple artists; at this studio, we found (above, L-R) Gary Georger, the studio’s owner Damian Grava, and Jacob Foran. Find the full list and map of studios on the self-guided tour here; until 5 pm today, and again 11 am-4 pm tomorrow, you can visit as many as you want to!
We’ll admit, we don’t know when this mailbox reappeared – given that previous absences had lasted for months, we weren’t checking regularly. But just in case you hadn’t already noticed, the Westwood Village post office’s drive-up/ride-up mailbox is back, We reported August 29th that it was damaged and taped off; within a few days, it was removed. (The USPS never did respond to our questions about damage cause and repair plans.) Meantime, another mailbox mystery remains – we subsequently checked on the 63rd/Hinds streetcorner mailbox, which also disappeared recently; as of this morning, it hasn’t been replaced.
As announced last month, the city’s only indoor pool in West Seattle, Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle), will reopen next Monday (September 13th). And finally, the initial schedule is out:
The full flyer has info on fees and health/safety policies.
As seems to happen every few years, the drive-up/ride-up mailbox outside the Westwood Village post office is damaged and out of service. We don’t know when it happened; someone texted us about it a short time ago and we went over for a firsthand look. We’ll be checking with USPS tomorrow. Last two times it sustained major damage, in 2015 and 2018, it was out of service for about four months. Meantime, if you need this kind of mailbox, there’s one outside the post office in The Junction, 4412 California SW.
Though National Night Out is usually on the first Tuesday in August (here’s our coverage from last night), some have chosen other nights for parties. That includes Westwood Village, which is teaming with Seattle Police for a Night Out event one week from tomorrow, 6-8 pm Thursday, August 12th. From the WWV announcement:
To promote police-community partnerships, members of the Seattle Police Department will distribute free giveaways to event attendees during Westwood Village’s National Night Out event, held on the north side of the shopping center in the parking lot near Bed Bath & Beyond. There will also be a live DJ and activities for children, including a face painter, balloon twister, and a kids chalk area where children can make their very own chalk masterpieces. This event is free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.
The center is at 2600 SW Barton.
Another road-work alert for the week ahead. This is part of the preparations for converting Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line next year, but it’s not part of the project on Delridge Way itself – that one is being done by a city-hired contractor, and this involves a county-hired contractor. After a reader tip that 26th SW work was beginning, we asked Metro for info, and here it is – repaving 26th SW south of Westwood Village, where buses are blamed for myriad paving woes:
Metro’s contractors, Walsh Construction, have already begun upgrades for RapidRide H Line at 25th Avenue SW and SW Barton Street (bus stop improvements) and at the intersection of 15th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury Street (road and pedestrian improvements) in the Westwood Village area. Starting as early as Wednesday, Aug. 4, Walsh will begin demolishing road panels in the northbound lanes of 26th Avenue SW between SW Barton Street and SW Roxbury Street.
This will start several months of work on 26th Avenue SW. The work will occur in phases moving from northbound to southbound over the remainder of the year. Paving of 26th Avenue SW has long been a request from community and Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation are excited to bring this improvement as part of RapidRide H Line. Improving the condition of the road will benefit all users and strengthen the roadway for future frequent future RapidRide H Line service.
As early as Aug. 4, northbound drivers will be detoured off of 26th Avenue SW between SW Roxbury Street and SW Barton Street. The turn from SW Cambridge Street to 26th Avenue SW also will be closed during work. The northbound closure is expected to last two to three months. Once the northbound demolition and repaving are complete, crews will move to work on the southbound lanes, reopening northbound traffic on the improved northbound lanes and detouring southbound drivers. Transit will also be rerouted off of 26th Avenue SW to 35th Avenue SW and the northbound bus stop located at the intersection of 26th Avenue SW and SW Barton Street will also be temporarily relocated to SW Barton Street.
Metro notes, “Typical work hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with some nighttime and weekend work.”
Though restrictions are lifted, and our state has officially “reopened,” much remains closed. The City of Seattle, for example, has yet to reopen many of its facilities for in-person use, Among the closed facilities: Neighborhood-based Customer Service Centers, which offer a variety of services including city utility-bill payment. Since 2012, the city’s lone West Seattle CSC has been at the Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool building (2801 SW Thistle). This week, Laura emailed, asking if we’d heard anything about the CSCs’ status. They’re administered by the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, whose spokesperson Melissa Mixon tells WSB, “We’re actually in the process of finalizing a reopening plan for the counters and expect to have more information to share in the next week pertaining to the dates.”
Bus stops along two West Seattle Metro routes have been bagged like that for the past half-year. This September, one set of stops will reopen. Metro plans to continue “suspension” of Route 37. But it is planning to bring back Route 22, which runs between Arbor Heights and The Junction. This was not in the tentative plan Metro had presented to a County Council committee earlier this year, but it was added by the time Metro returned to the council’s Environment and Mobility Committee last week. (Here’s the presentation, which notes that the Route 22 restoration was added to its fall plan because of survey feedback.) We didn’t hear about it until local transportation writer Ryan Packer mentioned it in a WSB comment discussion; we followed up with Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer, who confirmed, “Route 22 will be returning with weekday service with the fall service change, operating between 6 AM-9 PM. Similar to service levels pre-pandemic, service will be hourly.”
Here’s a place where Reopening Day is also Grand Opening Day. In our photo above is the team at West Seattle’s new vehicle/vessel licensing office, right after they cut the ribbon to officially open the new office on the north side of Westwood Village. The grand opening ends a year and a half without a licensing office in West Seattle, and comes eight months after we first reported a new licensing sub-agent would open the office (Randy Lais, at right in photo above, holding the banner, who also has a licensing office in Port Orchard).
(The newly remodeled space previously held a liquor store.) Seattle Auto Licensing, Inc. will be open 9 am-5 pm Mondays-Fridays, 10 am-2 pm Saturdays, but there are two changes in the days ahead: This Saturday (July 3rd) all licensing offices around the state will close at 1 pm for a statewide system upgrade; Monday, the office will be closed for this year’s official Independence Day observance. As noted in our preview last week, they’re temporarily accepting only checks/cash.
Before the heat wave arrived, we got some questions from former residents of frequently overheated cities, wondering what Seattle City Light was doing to try to hold off brownouts/blackouts once the power demand surged. We haven’t historically had much heat-related trouble here; SCL explained its preparations in this post. That said, the utility is currently dealing with 22 scattered outages affecting 2,600+ customers around its service area. In West Seattle, the most notable outage involved more than two dozen customers at Westwood Village, in an outage that started Friday evening and wasn’t fully resolved until Saturday night (WSB coverage here). Some stores closed. We followed up today with SCL spokesperson Julie Moore, who told us this was one of several weekend outages around the system caused by heat-related underground equipment failure. As for why it took so long to fix, she said that underground outages pose challenges in finding exactly what failed and why, and then they have to be careful with the crews going into the vaults to fix the problem – dealing with temperatures higher than the air outside.
Four notes in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
SHOPLIFTING ARREST: Another big-ticket shoplift thwarted tonight at Ulta Beauty in Westwood Village, according to the preliminary police summary. It says officers answered a 911 call around 6 pm; with description information from the caller, they found the suspect “sitting at a nearby bus stop.” Nearby, a backpack that turned out to have 22 items inside, valued at almost $2,000. Police say the suspect confessed to the theft and gave consent for them to search the backpack, The stolen items were returned to the store; the suspect was booked into jail. SIDE NOTE: This is the second four-figure shoplifting case arrest involving that store this month. We checked online records to see what has happened to the suspect arrested in the early June case, 31-year-old Jake Erickson. He was charged with felony theft and awaits trial on other unrelated cases we mentioned in our previous story; he was released from jail last Wednesday after 19 days, required to live with his mother under electronic home monitoring.
PORCH THEFT: Emailed video and report:
We live in Gatewood and recently had someone come onto our porch and steal a leaf blower we had left out.
ABANDONED BICYCLE: Texted photo and report:
Abandoned bike on 16th Ave SW and Myrtle. 7000 block. Looks like a well-maintained bike. It was on its side.
CAR PROWLS: Two in Upper Fauntleroy early this morning, both at WSB HQ. We apparently left the cars unlocked. Nothing taken; the glove boxes were emptied, worthless contents (pen and paper for story notes, half-used bottles of hand sanitizer) strewn on the front seats. As we’ve done following previous prowls, we’re filing an online report.
Free shredding, no waiting in the northwest parking lot at Westwood Village – and the temperature’s not too hot yet, about 80. John L. Scott Westwood (WSB sponsor) is presenting its annual shredding event/food drive with Evergreen Home Loans. Also there, the White Center Food Bank:
Bring food or check/cash if you can donate. The shredding service is available until noon
8:22 PM: Thanks for the tip. A 26-customer power outage in Westwood is having some effects at the shopping center. A texter tells us there’s restricted access to cold/frozen food at QFC. Seattle City Light‘s map says the outage started just after 6:30 pm but doesn’t yet identify the cause.
1:19 AM: Still out. Added screenshot of outage map, for the record.
10:40 AM: Not fixed yet, after 16 hours. Reader says the Westwood QFC is closed. The SCL map now attributes the outage to “equipment failure.”
12:08 PM: The supermarket is NOT closed – we just went there to check. However, this big loud generator truck is running by the north door:
8:08 PM: The outage is about a third of its size – eight customers now. The generator truck is gone from QFC but they are still sorting out the refrigerated-item situation. Meantime, we’ve confirmed at least one store that did close because of the outage – Marshall’s.
9:43 PM: Map shows it’s been fully restored, more than 24 hours after the outage started. We’ll be asking SCL about the cause on Monday.
After a year and a half without a vehicle/vessel-licensing office in West Seattle, the new one opens one week from today, at 9 am Wednesday, June 30th, after a ribboncutting ceremony. We just got that word from operator Randy Lais. Here’s the backstory from King County, which administers the contracts for subagents like this one:
Seattle Auto License, Inc. will provide services as a private business appointed by the Department of Licensing and will operate as a county-contracted subagent. Seattle Auto License, Inc. will provide title and license services for vehicles, motorcycles, vessels, watercraft, travel and utility trailers. Customers can also renew registrations, get a report of a sale, get trip permits and disabled placards. Initially, customers will need to pay with cash or check until the credit card system is set up.
The new location in Westwood Village is easily accessible with plentiful parking, including ADA parking right in front of the office. The new licensing subagent is also close to the Washington State Driver Licensing Office.
King County partners with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) to issue and renew vehicle and vessel licenses. Through this partnership, King County also contracts with local businesses, called subagents, to offer convenient locations to conduct in-person licensing. Visit dol.wa.gov to see the services that are offered online.
The new office is on the north edge of Westwood Village, near the SW Trenton entrance; we first reported on the new subagent seven months ago. The new office will be open 9 am-5 pm Mondays-Fridays, 10 am-2 pm Saturdays.
Clear, warm weather is expected all week. That’s good news for the city’s Rec’N The Streets program, which is offering a free outdoor movie next Friday (June 25th) in the Southwest Teen Life Center parking lot (2801 SW Thistle). It’s billed as “drive-in/walk-in”; bring your own chairs and snacks. The movie will be the original 1984 “Karate Kid” (here’s the trailer). All ages welcome, no RSVP/tickets necessary. The movie’s expected to start around 7:30 pm and runs just over two hours.
It’s a popular question this time of year – when’s the next chance to get no-longer-needed documents shredded for free in West Seattle? John L. Scott Westwood (WSB sponsor) has announced that it’s presenting its annual shredding event/food drive in two weeks – Saturday, June 26th – in collaboration with Evergreen Home Loans. Bring your shreddables to the northwest parking lot at Westwood Village (2600 SW Barton) 10 am-noon. The shredding is free of charge, but please bring nonperishable food (or cash) to donate to the White Center Food Bank. Last year’s shredding event brought in a half-ton of food and more than $4,000 in cash, along with 4+ tons of shredding!
2:45 AM: A sizable Seattle Fire and Police response is headed to the 2200 block of SW Barton for what’s reported as a person “assaulted with a weapon.” Updates to come.
2:49 AM: Officers at the scene – a building lobby – have told dispatch that the victim says he was stabbed at a nearby bus stop. He is reported to be wounded in an arm and leg.
2:54 AM: The victim will be taken to the hospital by SFD medics. No word so far of any arrest(s).
ORIGINAL THURSDAY NIGHT REPORT: Police arrested a suspected shoplifter tonight after a four-figure theft from Ulta Beauty in Westwood Village. Their preliminary summary says officers responded to a report of “multiple fragrances” stolen from the store. They found the suspect on foot nearby and recovered $3,094 worth of stolen items. The suspect was booked into jail; the items were returned to the store.
ADDED NOON FRIDAY: More details from the full-length police report – the suspect is a 31-year-old man. Police found him after checking the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail in the Roxhill Park area south of Westwood Village; the report says the trail “is commonly used by shoplift suspects as it allows significant cover and provides multiple access/exit points.” They found him with a backpack that looked “overstuffed”; a witness had told them he was in the store wearing a backpack and “carrying a large laundry bin” into which 34 bottles of fragrance products had been placed. The witness said he was then seen in the parking lot near trash bins, removing tags from the stolen products, and transferring them from the laundry bin. Police found the 34 bottles in the backpack. According to online records, the suspect has a lengthy criminal history going back more than a decade and is currently awaiting trial on charges from two building burglaries downtown early this year. The documents from that case say his record includes at least 55 failure-to-appear warrants from past cases.
The Seattle Public Library isn’t adding more West Seattle branches to the in-building “open” list yet – but the one that is allowing people inside will expand its hours and capacity next week. As of Tuesday (June 1st), Southwest Library (9010 35th SW) will be open 10 am-6 pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays, at 50 percent capacity. That will be divided into two public-use sessions – 10 am to 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 6 pm, with a cleaning break between them. You’ll still be able to pick up on-hold items during the break, though. SPL will also start phasing in browsing, too.
7 PM: All those sirens are for SFD units arriving at a garage fire at a house just west of Westwood Village, in the 9000 block of 31st SW. The first arrivals report smoke from a garage that’s about 20 x 20. Updates to come.
7:18 PM: The fire was confined to furniture in the garage, firefighters tell us. No injuries, no structural damage.
Last week, we reported that an Xfinity store is on the way to the center of Westwood Village. Today, news of another tenant for that same section of the center: The updated directory map included in listings for center vacancies shows Pet Supplies Plus as “coming soon” to the spaces next to Ulta Beauty.
Pet Supplies Plus is headquartered in Michigan and has more than 400 stores, operating on a franchise model, though a check of its website suggests this would be its first Northwest location. We have an inquiry out to the company to ask about the opening timeline. Westwood Village currently has one pet-supply store, Pet Pros – a Seattle-headquartered mini-chain – on the center’s east side.
Looking through city permit-system files, we happened onto a new tenant on the way to Westwood Village. The former Sprint (and before that, Radio Shack) space in the middle of the shopping center is slated to become an Xfinity store. We contacted Comcast‘s regional spokesperson Nick McDonald for confirmation. The reply: “This is going to be one of our standard Xfinity Retail Store locations that Comcast operates. It will offer a welcoming and modern retail environment that highlights the complete line of Xfinity Home and Comcast Business technology offerings,” including, he added, “Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home, the Xfinity Flex 4K streaming device, and Xfinity Internet.” No opening date yet. The site-plan layout suggests it’ll be something like this one in Ballard; the company’s nearest retail outlets are downtown and in Tukwila.