West Seattle, Washington
The parking lots of three more waterfront parks in West Seattle are open again. The Port of Seattle has reopened the lots for Jack Block Park (2130 Harbor Avenue SW) and T-105 and T-107 (both on the east shore of the Duwamish River, off West Marginal Way SW). Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB the parks and lots are on a “dawn till dusk” schedule and reminds parkgoers, “Visitors should be ready to follow public health guidance and wear a mask while respecting physical-distancing measures.” The parks lots were closed in late March as part of the COVID-19 response.
In summer 2018, we reported on the city’s plan to expand the Seattle Parks-owned area of Orchard Street Ravine by buying 7137 38th SW, a 5,600-square-foot parcel (map) holding the century-plus-old house shown in the King County Assessor photo above. Today, Parks announced it will be tearing down the house soon:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is moving forward with the structure demolition in the Orchard Street Ravine at 7137 38th Ave. SW. SPR purchased the property in 2018 to increase the green space in the Orchard Street Ravine, a natural area and important green space connector for the West Seattle community.
Watterson Excavating will be working in late May to demolish the structure on site. Between May and September, the Seattle Conservation Corps will put in erosion control measures and hydroseed the site. The property was purchased with community support and funding provided by the Seattle Park District.
In 2018, the city said the purchase price would be $235,000 (records verify that’s what was paid), and that it expected additional costs of $25,000 for “staff time, title insurance, and closing cost,” plus “up to $100,000 for demolition of the house.”
Reader report from North Delridge via text:
With Seattle Parks grounds crews overwhelmed, these neighbors and others decided to mow out most of Puget Blvd. Park (Sunday) evening for the little kids to run. One was even using a push mower. Good social distancing too.
The area is adjacent the Delridge P-Patch.
That’s the newest city-provided “hygiene station,” installed this morning in the northeast corner of Junction Plaza Park – portable toilets with a hand-washing station. We reported in late March on the first round of installations, which included one at Westcrest Park; the second round of installations did not include any West Seattle sites. After getting a tip about this one, we asked the city if any others were being installed in West Seattle; the reply – “A hygiene station was also deployed at Salvation Army White Center, located at 9050 16th Ave SW” (in South Delridge). The original city announcement says these sites “will be accessible 24/7 and serviced daily, with waste removal, needle disposal, and supplemental cleaning.”
As first reported here last Friday – after numerous WSB readers noticed those blocks in the south lot of Lincoln Park – the city is planning to reopen some parking spaces there and elsewhere for accessibility. Here’s the official announcement:
On Friday, May 8, Seattle Parks and Recreation will reopen limited accessible (ADA) parking at four major parks: Lincoln Park, Seward Park, Green Lake Park, and Magnuson Park.
In March, Seattle Parks and Recreation closed parking lots at the most popular parks in order to reduce usage of these parks. As the stay-at-home order has been extended, these parking lot closures are still in effect.
Accessible parking for people with Disabled Parking Permits will be made available at four parks, to provide access those who need parking to be able to access these parks:
*Lincoln Park — nine accessible parking spaces (four at lower beach lot, and five at the southern upper lot)
*Green Lake Park – eight accessible parking spaces at the Bathhouse Theater Lot
*Magnuson Park — ten accessible parking spaces (seven at the W6 play area lot, and three at the Off Leash Area)
*Seward Park — eight accessible parking spaces at the tennis court lot
Seattle Parks and Recreation has started with these four lots as a way to give equitable access to these parks and hopes to add additional spaces at other closed lots if possible. General use parking is still prohibited at these sites.
All spots will be designated with “State Disabled Parking Permit Required” signs. No other parking is permitted in these lots, and violators will be ticketed. Lots are still closed to discourage crowding at our most popular parks, and community is encouraged to recreate closer to home.
The latest order by Mayor Durkan will allow West Seattle and the city’s 3 other municipal golf courses to reopen tomorrow, the date Gov. Inslee chose for allowing the sport to resume. As we reported at the time, his order didn’t automatically give local courses the green light – city and county authorities are allowed to keep tighter restrictions – but one WSB commenter said last week they had already booked a tee time. Noted in the city’s announcement:
Courses will follow new operational guidelines and strict physical distancing practices which include: signage to indicate social distancing guidelines, minimized face-to-face interactions, removing high touch surfaces, increasing sanitization practices, converting sit-down food and beverage service to take-out only, eliminating equipment rentals, closing mini golf and using golf ambassadors to enforce social distancing. Seattle Parks and Recreation is also developing a pilot to provide hours when the public can run, bike, or walk within the golf courses.
The rest of the order extends other existing Seattle Parks closures through May 31st, the new expiration date for the governor’s stay-home order.
Thanks to everyone who has tipped/asked us about this! Thursday afternoon, we started hearing about those new additions to the south parking lot at Lincoln Park, more than a month after Seattle Parks closed it and some other parks’ lots. We checked some of the other closed lots around the area – nowhere else, just this lot. This morning we asked the city about them. Our reply is just in: “”We are looking at ways to provide ADA parking access without reopening the whole lot. We will have more to share in the coming days.”
P.S. Thanks to everyone who continues to share sightings even before official announcements are made (like last week’s boarding and unboarding of Alki benches) – that’s true community collaboration! Email email@example.com or text 206-293-6302 any time.
Though Governor Inslee announced Monday that golfing would be allowed again – along with some other outdoor recreation – starting May 5, that doesn’t automatically mean West Seattle and other city golf courses will reopen. We followed up with the city – where golf courses are closed by order of the mayor – and got a response this morning: “At this time, City golf courses are still closed. The City will utilize the Governor’s order to consider changes to current restrictions, but we have nothing to announce at this time.” Meantime, the detailed rules for golfing are spelled out in this state document (starting at page 5) and include, notably, beyond what was mentioned Monday, “At the golf course’s discretion, foursomes are allowed if they are from the same household. Otherwise, no more than two players from separate households per tee time.”
4:28 PM: That photo of a boarded-up bench at Alki came in just as we heard about this new “Keep It Moving” action from reader John, who had emailed Seattle Parks to ask if “Keep It Moving” also meant to keep people from resting on benches – as he and his spouse do while out walking – or to stop parents of little kids from sitting on the beach while their children played. The reply he got from a Parks staffer:
… We don’t have the staff capacity to sift out more and less appropriate activities, so we’re using the “blunt instruments” such as the Keep Moving initiative and partial closures such as at the beach where people tend to congregate and party. These measures are the best we can feasibly do at this time.
Of course parks are not only for the young and fit, but it seems relevant that persons who are older and less fit are at the highest risk from the virus. We’re doing our best, with the tools available to us, to keep people safe during this public health crisis.
John included that im a note to us, cc’d to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, reading in part:
[That is] the answer we finally got from the Parks Dept in reply to our asking if it was okay for my wife and I to rest on a park bench while taking our daily walk.
As I write this, Park Dept staff is bolting boards to park benches to render them unusable. The staffer’s answer also seems to somewhat bluntly suggest that older citizens really shouldn’t be in the parks due to their high risk status.
Young people walk and run to get fit and lose weight. Older people take their daily walk as a prerequisite to staying alive, and with proper social distancing the Parks Dept should have no objection to them doing it.
My wife and I both judged the staffer’s reply to be word salad, and we already hear enough of that on TV. We think this is ridiculous. We live at Alki and watch it all day long. There are no real problems here. The Easter closure was an excellent idea, as was reopening it on the following Monday.
I want to know the official justification for the bench banning. And are all park benches throughout the city going to be boarded up? …
We’ll be asking Parks about that.
ADDED 10:05 AM FRIDAY: Got a city response this morning:
Alki saw significant crowding on Sunday, April 19. We are implementing two additional strategies to deter crowding this coming weekend: 1. Adding additional signage. 2. Deterring congregating in picnic shelters and benches through caution tape and placing boards or signs on seating. We will leave some benches open through the park to serve those with disabilities. These efforts are in hopes that we will not have to close Alki Beach due to persistent crowding.
Our goal is that people would stay home, and when they go out to recreate that they walk in their neighborhood or use neighborhood parks. If folks do want to use Alki we would like them to keep it moving when they are there—walk, run, or bike, and try and visit the park during a less busy hour.
The response included two sheets related to social-distancing observations by Parks personnel – we’ll add those a bit later after converting them to PDF.
9:04 PM FRIDAY: As noted in comments – and seen by us at the park a few hours ago – Parks crews were REMOVING the boards tonight, and the department has just confirmed via Twitter that it’s removed them all.
12:22 PM: Those are just a few of the sea lions hanging out off Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook (4503 Beach Drive SW) this midday, some “sailing” while taking a break from an all-you-can-eat brunch. Birds too:
Consensus so far seems to be that they are feeding on spawning herring.
That would seem to be borne out by the water color difference you can see in this reader-contributed video from Terence:
P.S. Thanks for all the tips on this!
ADDED 4:32 PM: Kersti Muul sends this photo of herring eggs on the shore:
And from Erica Sokoloff, two more Beach Drive sights – first, a tern (those are the birds with the prehistoric-sounding screech); second, a sea lion nosing out of the water:
ADDED LATE SUNDAY: Aerial view from “Diver Laura” James:
We asked Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network‘s David Hutchinson about the phenomenon:
The Hotline has had a number of calls recently about sea lions offshore, with people expressing concern that they were entangled or injured. We encourage people to call and report these sightings to the Seal Sitters Hotline (206-905-7325) so we can keep track of this activity and just in case a sea lion is actually in distress. A couple weeks ago, our contact at WDFW reported there were herring spawn events in the area (Purdy, Indianola, Case Inlet) which are likely attracting those large numbers of sea lions. Most of these animals will be heading out of our area within the next month.
12:16 PM: So far, no indication of a repeat park closure this weekend. But WSB readers have spotted new signage at Alki, sending the photos above and below:
We’re following up with the city.
P.S. Here’s the list of ongoing park-related closures, separate from last weekend’s temporary order.
2:14 PM: David Hutchinson sent a closer view of the first sign shown, so we substituted his photo. The city, meantime, responded to our inquiry by saying “There will be an announcement from Parks later this afternoon.”
5:22 PM: The signs are addressed in this long, multi-topic news release just published on the city website. “The City will allow major parks to remain open throughout the weekend but will be requiring residents to keep moving and not play sports, picnic or barbecue,” the news release says, adding, “Seattle Parks staff will be monitoring in real time and is prepared to close parks if there are too many gatherings or too many people.” 60 “ambassadors” will be deployed citywide, plus: “The public can report any lack of social distancing to Seattle Parks and Recreation through social media, calling (206) 684-4075, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
12:46 PM: We’re out checking on the parks that the mayor ordered closed through early Monday. Updates as we go:
First stop, West Seattle Stadium – the driveway is blocked off right at the 35th entrance. Next, heading toward Alki; this portable sign is by Don Armeni’s north/west entrance:
It’s a closure reminder; we saw it being set up (but not activated) Friday evening. Westward…
1:10 PM: Just drove the entire stretch of Alki, including south of Alki Point. People are out walking, running, and biking, but only a handful are off the trail and actually on the sand or promenade. Did not see any marked SPD or Parks vehicles, nor additional sugnage.
1:22 PM: Moments after that update, we saw the SPD Mobile Precinct headed toward southbound Beach Drive. We’re heading toward Lincoln Park next.
1:58 PM: Most of Lincoln Park, of course, is not visible from the road, so all we can report is what we could see by driving past – one person in view on a trail by the north lot, two people walking in across the south lot. As evening approaches, we will take another look at Alki.
4:43 PM: See comments below for what others are seeing at the parks.
5:10 PM: Alki photographer David Hutchinson took these photos around 3 pm:
He explains the photo immediately above: “One of a number of people with Seattle Parks & Recreation yellow vests who have been patrolling the Alki Beach area and at Don Armeni earlier.”
Just in from the mayor’s office:
Because of continued gatherings in major parks and crowded public places, the City of Seattle announced today the full closure of major regional parks this weekend where social distancing guidelines have not been followed by patrons. Seattle is joining major cities like Austin and Los Angeles across the country in closing major parks for the weekend. The change is effective Friday, April 10th at 11pm and will parks reopen on Monday, April 12 at 4:30 am. Data shows that social distancing measures are effectively reducing the transmission rate, but any easing of those measures could lead to a resurgence in transmission. Moreover, all city departments are having to adjust to the impacts that COVID-19 has had on employees, their families and the city workforce.
“These are the beautiful weather days we crave all winter, but we are living in unprecedented times and the Governor’s order isn’t stay out – it’s stay home. Seattle’s frontline medical workers, vulnerable residents, and displaced workers need you to stay home. While Seattle is expecting near perfect weather, friends and families should not have family or friend outings, picnics or gatherings in parks. Stay home unless you need to go to an essential job or business. If you need to take a walk in your neighborhood, be smart and don’t help create a crowded place. Too many friends, residents and families are continuing to gathering for picnics, BBQs, basketball games, and group walks. Because we still are in danger of a spike in infections, hospitalizations and deaths we have to keep doing out part. Easing up on social distancing too early will put more people at risk, could overwhelm our health care system, and could delay the reopening of businesses. Stay home, and if you must leave your home, be smart, follow social distancing guidelines by stay at lease six feet from everyone and wear a mask” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Our collective effort has made an impact flattening the curve, but we must continue or face even greater and longer term consequences.”
Closing these parks temporarily will help ensure more people are keeping the distancing they need to from other people. While our neighborhood parks will remain open, the city will consider closing them or making temporary closures longer term if visitors can’t follow safety guidelines. While the City of Seattle has closed parking lots at the largest regional parks, significant gatherings and disregard for social distancing have continued.
Seattle Parks and Recreation’s eight destination parks Green Lake, Lincoln, Golden Gardens, Seward Park, Magnuson Park, Gas Works, Alki Beach, and Discovery, as well as Cal Anderson, Carkeek, Woodland Park, Volunteer Park, Kubota Garden, West Seattle Stadium, and the Washington Park Arboretum will close on Friday, April 10th at 11pm and will reopen Monday, April 12 at 4:30 am.. Stan Sayres, Magnuson, Don Armeni, and Atlantic St boat launches are also closed. Trails at Lake Washington Boulevard will remain open, but group gatherings will be prohibited. Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail will remain closed. Next week, the City will is evaluating and implementing a park by park plan to ensure residents can safely utilize larger regional parks when they reopen.
“The Police Department is asking community members to continue to follow the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Seattle has worked so hard to flatten the COVID curve in our region, now is not the time for our community to become complacent,” said Chief Carmen Best. “The Police Department supports the Mayor’s decision to close the parks, and we will work with the Parks Department to carry out this order. However, the Seattle Police Department cannot police us out this pandemic. Please stay at home for the health and safety of your family, friends, and loved ones.”
“As the weather has warmed up over the past few days, we’ve seen more and more people heading out to our regional parks, this has created a significant threat to the health and safety of our community. We are closing these parks to more firmly support the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, and to keep our most vulnerable neighbors safe,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
Previous orders closed parking lots at those same West Seattle parks.
In addition to the 8 major parks already closed to parking, the City of Seattle is closing parking lots at 8 other parks to further encourage social distancing and lessen crowds. Closures are effective immediately at all parking lots along Lake Washington Boulevard; in Washington Park Arboretum, at Stan Sayers Boat Ramp (boat ramp also closed); AT Carkeek, Kubota, Woodland Park, and Volunteer parks; and at the West Seattle Stadium.
These parking lot closures are in addition to the closures at Green Lake, Lincoln, Golden Gardens, Seward, Magnuson (including the boat launch), Gas Works, Alki Beach (including Don Armeni boat launch), and Discovery parks.
Residents are encouraged to visit any of other 450 local neighborhood parks, or to bike or walk to the larger destination parks, which will remain open for public use.
“Many of us have been doing a great job at enjoying the outdoors while also practicing social distancing, but we are still observing crowds at some of our larger parks, and pick-up games on fields and courts. We urge you to visit parks closer to home or take walks in your neighborhood. Continuing our social distancing practices is critical to the health of those most vulnerable in our community,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
SPR and SPD will continue to deploy staff to encourage social distancing at highly frequented parks.
As a reminder, all Seattle beaches are also closed to gatherings, and Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail are closed.
The photo and report are from Todd:
Saw this hat in Schmitz Park along the trail below the Admiral street.
It deserves to be with its Owner.
P.S. For general lost/found reports, see the section in our Community Forums.
Following up on Friday’s city announcement of “hygiene stations” on the way to Westcrest Park and others around the city, we went over this afternoon for a look, and found it in place by the parking lot south of the P-Patch. That lot is reachable via walking or driving in from the entrance that Seattle Public Utilities had told us was the planned location. According to Friday’s announcement,”The new facilities will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week. Daily maintenance will be provided including sharps disposal, waste removal, and supplemental cleaning.” They are not replacing, but rather supplementing existing park restrooms – the ones at Westcrest, for example, are further north.
As reported here earlier this week, Seattle Parks as closed parking lots at eight “destination parks” around the city, including Lincoln Park and Alki Beach (as clarified yesterday, Seacrest and Don Armeni were folded in with the latter). Today, the Port of Seattle announced it has closed park parking lots too – that includes, in West Seattle, Jack Block Park, plus T-105 and T-107 on the Duwamish River. And as noted on our partner site White Center Now, King County Parks’ lots also are closed. BUT all three jurisdictions stress that the parks themselves REMAIN OPEN for walking and other social-distancing-friendly activity.
Though the city’s announcement Tuesday of closed parking lots at parks only mentioned eight “destination parks” including Lincoln Park and Alki (which doesn’t have a standalone lot), readers noticed others closed off – like Seacrest (above) and Don Armeni Boat Ramp (below).
We followed up today via the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which is fielding all media questIons related to the COVID-19 response. The reply: “Only the lots of the eight parks mentioned in the news release will be closed to help reduce crowds. . At Alki, the lots at Seacrest (take-out at Marination Ma Kai and dropoff at Water Taxi is still accessible) and Don Aremni (we are looking to reopen a portion to keep the boat launch operating) were closed to have the same result at this park.”
Someday, it’ll be time to yell “play ball”! West Seattle Little League asks for your help in one simple way:
Request: Please do not play on the of Bar-S fields – both the infield and the outfield. The outfield has new seed planted and needs time to grow and the infield has been prepped for the season targeted to start May 11. There has been a lot of work by volunteers to keep these fields in great playing condition and need your help to keep them in great shape! Staying off the fields now allows for a great season of play in the future.
Bar-S s is at 64th and Admiral, just east of Alki Point.
That photo of the now-closed Don Armeni Boat Ramp lot, from Stewart L., just arrived about the same time as Seattle Parks made this announcement:
In an effort to encourage social distancing and reduce the number of congregating crowds, the City of Seattle has closed parking at the eight destination parks, closed all beaches to gatherings and prohibited access to Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail near North Bend. Last week, the City and County announced that play areas and other high touch areas would be closed, and reinforced that congregating in parks is not allowed at this time.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation eight destination parks are Green Lake, Lincoln, Golden Gardens, Seward Park, Magnuson Park, Gas Works, Alki Beach, and Discovery. All Seattle beaches will no longer be open for gatherings; however, will remain open for walking or general exercise. Parking lots will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 25. Understanding the Governor’s Stay at Home, Stay Healthy order, residents are encouraged to visit the 479 local neighborhood parks or to bike or walk to these destination parks, which will remain open for public use.
SPR and SPD will also continue to deploy staff to encourage social distancing at these highly frequented parks as well as locations such as Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park.
“We still want people to be able to enjoy our parks during this stressful time. But we have seen many of our parks have become too busy to allow folks to properly create social distance. Our hope is that closing parking lots will reduce crowds. If folks are not able to maintain six feet of space, we will need to close parks,” said Jesús Aguirre.
As always, Seattle Parks and Recreation asks residents to:
Use social distancing: the most effective tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. We are asking people to abide by social distancing guidelines in Seattle Parks.
Do not access off limits equipment or areas: as of last week, Seattle and King County have closed all play areas and other high touch areas, such as picnic shelters, tables, and outdoor exercise equipment.
Do not congregate in parks: the means no pick-up games, no picnics, BBQs, parties, or bonfires.
Six feet for activities: Hiking, biking, walking are all great ways to enjoy parks right now, just remember to give a wide berth to your fellow residents.
Again, the parks/beaches are not closed – just closed to gathering, and to parking. We note that Don Armeni isn’t specifically mentioned so we’re following up.
3:59 PM: Seattle Parks crews are continuing to make the rounds, taping off playground and fitness equipment at parks, now off-limits by order of the mayor. Thanks for sending photos of what you are seeing – above, Carolyn sent that from the Lincoln Park north play area; below, from Mark, outside Hiawatha:
We’ve been checking south end parks – here’s one scene we found:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 22, 2020
5:36 PM: We’ve just been out checking on more playgrounds and it appears Park staff had been to every place we looked – here’s Highland Park Playground:
Southwest Teen Life Center’s little-kid area:
And the Alki spot unofficially known as Whale Tail Park:
Lowman Beach’s swing set, too.
While Governor Inslee is NOT issuing a “shelter in place” order, so far (as reported here earlier), there’s a brand-new city/county order to further restrict use of parks – just in:
To follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing sports courts, playground equipment, and other active recreation areas where it could be difficult to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.
Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.
The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, and other active recreation locations. Parks, natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained remain open.
Pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings will not be permitted.
Restrooms within parks will continue to be open to the public, and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
Read the rest of the announcement, including reminders about social distancing on trails, by going here.
P.S. This means what we wrote about this morning – finding less-crowded local parks with lots of room to wander – still applies. The city and county are NOT closing the parks – just specific parts/uses, like playgrounds and sports.
That’s the south side of Myrtle Reservoir Park – one of the West Seattle park/open space sites where you can go and enjoy the sun while keeping at a safe distance from your fellow parkgoers. After all the discussion about Alki crowds this week – and looking ahead at a rainless weekend – we thought spotlighting other spacious areas might be helpful. Myrtle, for example, has walkways and open fields, next to (and over) water-storage facilities. It’s at 35th/Myrtle – and as you can see on the map, Walt Hundley Playfield, one block east at 34th/Myrtle, is spacious too .
Further south, the Southwest Athletic Complex – which is actually a Seattle Public Schools facility – stretches from the stadium (2801 SW Thistle) westward to the big open field where Denny International Middle School used to be. If you want a north-facing water view, Jack Block Park (2130 Harbor SW) – which is a Port of Seattle site – has lots of walkways and overlooks – though some repair work might still be under way. The lodge at Camp Long (5200 35th SW) is closed but the park has trails and a big open field. Those are just a few of many alternatives to the most-popular spots. More recommendations? Please add yours below!
SIDE NOTE: The definitive guide to Seattle parks was written by one of your neighbors, West Seattleite Linnea Westerlind – we featured her book “Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide” when it was published in 2017. She also has a website, Year of Seattle Parks. If you don’t already have her book, you might check with one of West Seattle’s independent booksellers – both selling books via pickup and delivery!