West Seattle Blog… https://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 18 Dec 2018 23:20:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Mayor announces her choice for SDOT director: Sam Zimbabwe from D.C. https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/mayor-announces-her-choice-for-sdot-director-sam-zimbabwe-from-d-c/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/mayor-announces-her-choice-for-sdot-director-sam-zimbabwe-from-d-c/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 22:37:10 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936261 One full year after announcing Scott Kubly‘s departure, Mayor Jenny Durkan has just announced her choice to succeed him: Sam Zimbabwe, from Washington, D.C. Here’s the official announcement:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and community leaders announced today that she is nominating transit and transportation project delivery expert Sam Zimbabwe to be the next Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), pending Council confirmation. Zimbabwe currently serves as the Chief Project Delivery Officer for Washington, D.C.’s District Department of Transportation (DDOT), a role that unites planning, traffic engineering, transit, and capital projects.

“Sam is the right person to help build a transportation system of the future, keep people and goods moving in Seattle, and deliver on essential projects for taxpayers. For decades, our region has been playing catch-up on its transportation needs. As more public and private mega projects lead to serious traffic disruptions downtown, the next few years will be critical for creating more safe, efficient, and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike, and via mass transit for decades to come. With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, I am confident Sam is ready to deliver on investments that will help us create a city of the future,” said Mayor Durkan.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to help keep Seattle moving, build a transit and transportation system for the next generation, and deliver on projects for the people of Seattle,” said Sam Zimbabwe. “Seattle is entering a new era of transit and transportation that will require effective delivery of capital projects along with a focus on giving more people access to safe options for walking, biking, and using transit.”

Zimbabwe’s nomination comes after an extensive public input and national search process that included candidates from across the United States. Following the departure of the previous director, Mayor Durkan oversaw an extensive review and reshaping of SDOT so the department could better deliver on projects. In May, Mayor Durkan announced a search committee that included nearly a dozen business, transportation, labor, and community leaders. The search for a new director of SDOT also included an extensive community outreach process. After conducting interviews with applicants, the Search Committee submitted their recommendations for finalists to Mayor Durkan, who interviewed the finalists earlier this month.

“We are excited about the Mayor’s selection and confident that Sam is the right person to help deliver forward-thinking, accountable leadership for SDOT and to deliver on the crucial Move Seattle projects. Seattle’s transportation decisions have an impact throughout our region, and this is a critical role at a critical time. In less than one month, Seattle will enter years of transportation challenges as the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes and several other transportation and construction projects converge. At the same time, our region is in the midst of expanding light rail, increasing bus service, and building safer bike infrastructure,” said Search Committee Co-Chairs Betty Spieth-Croll, Co-Chair of the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee, and Marilyn Strickland, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Through all of this, we will need to provide residents, businesses, and visitors additional options for moving in and through Seattle. We look forward to working with Sam for years to come.”

Before assuming the role of Chief Project Delivery Officer, Zimbabwe served as the Associate Director of DDOT’s Planning and Sustainability Division. Prior to joining DDOT, Zimbabwe was the Director of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development at Reconnecting America. In that role, he led planning and technical assistance projects focused on transit and transit-oriented development with local and national philanthropic foundations and public agencies around the country. He also has experience as an urban designer. He holds a master’s degree in city planning and urban design from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional studies from Cornell University.

The photo above is from the DDOT website.

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FOLLOWUP: Kierra Ward found competent to stand trial in Admiral attack https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-kierra-ward-found-competent-to-stand-trial-in-admiral-attack/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-kierra-ward-found-competent-to-stand-trial-in-admiral-attack/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 21:30:03 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936256 (October 2017 photo by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that 27-year-old Kierra M. Ward is now competent to stand trial in the October 2017 stabbing attack on an Admiral woman out for a walk with her baby. The ruling on Monday followed Ward being sent to Western State Hospital for competency restoration, after she was found incompetent in July. The next step in the case, according to documents from Monday’s hearing, is a sanity evaluation, because her lawyer has indicated that Ward will pursue the insanity defense. The evaluation is to be done before her next hearing, which is set for January 10th. Ward is charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault and remains jailed in lieu of $400,000 bail.

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DEVELOPMENT: After 2 years, 5952 California SW apartments back for Design Review round 2 https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/development-after-2-years-5952-california-sw-apartments-back-for-design-review-round-2/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/development-after-2-years-5952-california-sw-apartments-back-for-design-review-round-2/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 20:09:30 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936253 (Rendering by Hybrid Architecture)

More than two years after a mostly microhousing proposal for 5952 California SW went through the Early Design Guidance stage of Administrative Design Review, it’s back for the second round. The project is now described as 29 microapartments (Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) and six other apartments (described in the new design packet as 1 bedrooms and lofts) with five offstreet-parking spaces (in a zone where none are required). Here’s the design packet (126 MB PDF). The formal notice isn’t out yet so there’s no deadline yet for comments, but you can send yours to the assigned planner, david.landry@seattle.gov.

P.S. We noted last year that the site was for sale. County records do not yet show it having changed hands. When we first reported in spring 2016 on plans to redevelop the site, replacing a 1925 house, it had a 48-unit proposal.

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7 for your West Seattle Tuesday https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/7-for-your-west-seattle-tuesday/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/7-for-your-west-seattle-tuesday/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 19:44:38 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936244 (Photo by Pamela Rogers)

Here are the highlights for the rest of your Tuesday, from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide and Event Calendar:

NAVOS DRIVE: Friday is the last day for this West Seattle-based holiday drive:

Make the holidays brighter for some of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults in our community with a gift of gift cards (grocery stores or Target preferred), or children’s books (in English and Spanish) for all ages. Financial donations (tax-deductible) also make a big difference! Navos and our partner organizations, Seattle Children’s Home and Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center, invite you to make wishes come true this holiday season! Donations may be dropped off at Navos’ West Seattle campus at 2600 SW Holden Street through Friday, December 21st at 4:00 pm, or picked up by arrangement at development@navos.org. Together we can help hundreds of vulnerable children, youth, adults, and families living in poverty to have a happy holiday!

(2600 SW Holden)

SANTA PHOTOS: Running late with yours? Santa is at Westwood Village daily through Christmas Eve – schedule here. (2600 SW Barton)

HOLIDAY MUSIC: Alex Baird at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), 4-7 pm. (4201 SW Morgan)

ALKI LIGHT SHOW: You’re invited to watch tonight’s edition of the 2018 Uehara-Bingen Xmas Lights Show on Alki! Be there at 6:15 pm for the 30-minute show that starts at 6:30 pm. More info in our Holiday Guide. (1736 Alki SW)

FREE GROUP RUN: Track workout run with West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 6:30 pm. Meet at the shop. (2743 California SW)

EVENING BOOK GROUP: 6:30 pm at High Point Library. This month’s title is “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson. (3411 SW Raymond)

WSHS WINTER CONCERT: You’re invited to enjoy a free concert at West Seattle High School, 7 pm, with the Jazz Ensemble. (3000 California SW)

Got something for our calendar or Holiday Guide (which runs through New Year’s)? Send it! Thank you.

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Last call for your thoughts on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry schedule proposal https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/last-call-for-your-thoughts-on-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-ferry-schedule-proposal/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/last-call-for-your-thoughts-on-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-ferry-schedule-proposal/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 18:47:21 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936242 (WSB photo from August)

Six days after a standing-room-only turnout in Fauntleroy, it’s your last day to comment on the newest proposal for a major change in the Washington State Ferries schedule for the so-called Triangle Route. Here again is the proposal:

Comments can be e-mailed by tonight – WSFPlanning@wsdot.wa.gov. Ferries management has the final say, and plans to put a new schedule in place in March.

P.S. Though it’s not about the schedule, the much-anticipated UW study about improving loading at Fauntleroy is now out – you can read about it here.

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TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday watch https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/traffic-transit-today-tuesday-watch-28/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/traffic-transit-today-tuesday-watch-28/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 15:15:58 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936233

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

7:15 AM: Good morning. So far no traffic incidents or transit alerts reported in our area.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Black Pathfinder stolen in 1 minute https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/west-seattle-crime-watch-black-pathfinder-stolen-in-1-minute/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/west-seattle-crime-watch-black-pathfinder-stolen-in-1-minute/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:22:23 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936224

Only one thing is crystal-clear on that security video: Only one minute elapsed between another vehicle pulling up alongside Christine‘s husband’s black 1995 Pathfinder, and a thief driving the Pathfinder away. It happened in Sunrise Heights early Saturday, and we just got the report and video from Christine late Monday night. We’re awaiting the plate # so we can add it, but there’s a distinguishing feature: “KU stickers on the back window.” If you see it, call 911.

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FOLLOWUP: Juneau Street Market fighting to recover, too https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-juneau-street-market-fighting-to-recover-too/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-juneau-street-market-fighting-to-recover-too/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 05:54:02 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936215

If you get the chance to stop by Juneau Street Market sometime soon, Sami Ibrahim would appreciate your business.

As reported here, the little corner store, owned by Sami since 2011, was rocked twice by crime in the span of one week.

First, a burglary on December 6th – within the span of just 40 seconds, a burglar cleaned out the store’s cigarette stock, pulled the register out by the wires, and got away.

Five days after that, a violent attack that made regional news – with the 71-year-old clerk badly injured by a would-be robber, saved by bystanders. Though this time there was an arrest, the store was again left in disarray, some stock destroyed.

Sami says his clerk is out of the hospital and recovering at home. As reported here last week, her family is crowdfunding, and generous community members have already surpassed the first goal. She has a long road to travel to heal.

As for the shop, Sami says he’s not looking for donations. He invited us to come down and visit the store so you would be reminded that the shop is still open. Business has been down since the crimes, but business is what the store needs to recover (insurance won’t cover the entirety of the damage and loss). The store, he says, is the same neighborhood place it’s always been and he welcomes everyone to come see for themselves. He’s also grateful for neighbors’ support over the years – they’re “cool people,” he says.

And while you’re there, you’ll see a photo of his brave clerk on the counter, with a reminder of the GoFundMe campaign that’s helping her.

(Juneau Street Market is at 5901 California SW.)

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If you’ve wondered about the West Seattle Bridge lights … https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/if-youve-wondered-about-the-west-seattle-bridge-lights/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/if-youve-wondered-about-the-west-seattle-bridge-lights/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 05:08:13 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936212 One more story about lights on one of the longest nights of the year: Several people have e-mailed to point out another chronic streetlight outage on the high bridge. Those lights ar the responsibility of Seattle City Light, and they’re certainly on the utility’s radar, spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB. City Light is working with SDOT, he says, to come up with a traffic-control plan for repairs, which he says SDOT usually wants to see done at night or on the weekend to reduce traffic impact: “We are asking for a lane closure with a blinking, moving SDOT truck following our yellow City Light truck as the repairs are made. They whole job should take about 5 hours once we get the crew in place.” As for a timeline, he says that depends on how much longer it takes SDOT to review/approve the plan.

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Tonight’s lights: Super-sized Santa hat https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/tonights-lights-super-sized-santa-hat/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/tonights-lights-super-sized-santa-hat/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 04:09:13 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936206

We have featured this display at 36th/Roxbury a few times in the past, but the photo and note from Megan were a reminder that it’s the season to see everything through fresh eyes – she and her family are new arrivals and this caught their attention while they were out looking at lights the other night. So thanks for the suggestions (with or without photos) – westseattleblog@gmail.com – one week until Christmas Eve! (See what we’ve shown previously by scrolling through this WSB archive section.)

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One West Seattle project part of city’s announcement of $75 million for rental housing https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/one-west-seattle-project-part-of-citys-announcement-of-75-million-for-rental-housing/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/one-west-seattle-project-part-of-citys-announcement-of-75-million-for-rental-housing/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 02:03:26 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936198 The mayor’s announcement today of $75 million for “affordable” rental housing includes money for one West Seattle project that’s already been mentioned here multiple times, the new Transitional Resources apartments in the 2800 block of SW Yancy, not far from TR’s headquarters on Avalon Way. Back in September, TR’s CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker told WSB they’re proceeding with the project, saying they would soon be “submitting funding applications to develop up to 44 studio units in two buildings.” This city grant is apparently one result. The city announcement doesn’t include the specific award amounts but this Office of Housing document indicates TR requested $3.8 million. TR says the new building, replacing three old houses, “will serve adults in need of behavioral health treatment and support to live independently in permanent housing,” as with their other properties, which as of September provided housing to 85 people.

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FOLLOWUP: The Kenney’s plans, with corner properties on the market https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-the-kenneys-plans-with-corner-properties-on-the-market/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-the-kenneys-plans-with-corner-properties-on-the-market/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 01:10:35 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936195 (WSB photos: One of the 46th/47th/Othello properties that’s for sale)

Last week we reported on the $5.2 million listing for properties owned by, and adjacent to, The Kenney (WSB sponsor). The site at 46th/47th/Othello was at one point under consideration for redevelopment as apartments. Since last week’s mention of the listing, we’ve received an update on The Kenney’s status and future plans from its operator Heritage Ministries:

The Kenney is currently affiliated with Heritage Ministries, a New York, not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services for the elderly. Heritage Ministries operates in four different states at 9 different locations including The Kenney in Seattle. The Kenney formally affiliated with Heritage just over 3 years ago after many years of financial struggles and 2 years of interim management under an agreement with Ontrack Solutions, a for-profit management company.

When The Kenney affiliated with Heritage in May of 2015, it had secured debt of $21.8 million and was losing over $3 million per year. As a result of the affiliation and under Heritage’s oversight, the overall secured debt now stands at under $15 million and annual losses have been drastically curtailed, but there is still work to be done.

With this new affiliation, The Kenney has begun taking steps to become a more viable, long-term retirement option for seniors in West Seattle. A significant step was taken earlier in 2018 when The Kenney ceased to operate skilled nursing beds at the location. According to President David Smeltzer, “The 20-bed skilled nursing unit was not a viable product. It was too small to be able to operate efficiently, was comprised primarily of semi-private rooms, and could not compete with larger facilities for the more profitable, short-term rehab portion of the business. We saw an opportunity to reduce operating losses while providing very similar care and services in our Lincoln Vista assisted living apartments which are all private units consisting of both efficiency and one-bedroom apartments. We now offer many of the same services in a much newer building and in a much nicer environment.”

The Kenney is now in the process of totally renovating the old skilled-nursing area along with another former assisted-living wing to create a much more appealing memory care unit that will also enable it to increase the number of residents served with these needs from 13 to 20 with more room to grow in the future. This space will also offer private rooms, larger dining and activities spaces, and an improved access to outdoor spaces.

In addition to these moves to improve the facility, The Kenney has been gutting and remodeling the older apartments in two original buildings, Seaview and Sunrise. When Heritage took over, many of these units did not even have kitchens. Under this new leadership, smaller efficiency apartments have been combined to make much more appealing two-bedroom and one-bedroom units.

In addition, The Kenney is also well into the process of constructing 5 new townhomes on the corner of Fauntleroy and SW Othello. They have been working with architects Shoesmith Cox, who designed the units and is leading the project through the City of Seattle permitting process. The Kenney is hopeful that construction on these homes will begin in 2019.

Two years ago, The Kenney held a meeting with community residents to discuss the townhome project as well as plans to build additional apartments on the corner of 47 Ave SW and SW Othello. However, with further analysis, Kenney management has determined that a more critical need for The Kenney is the continued improvement of its existing facilities and infrastructure. The revised plan calls for complete renovations of all existing buildings and apartments, the improved Memory Care unit referred to above, brand new elevators, and perhaps most importantly, a brand new dining facility to be built above the current Memory Care unit. This new dining facility will offer a variety of seating options with restaurant-style dining and provide a better flow of traffic through the facility for residents and guests alike.

President and CEO Smeltzer stated, “Due to the financial struggles The Kenney had prior to their affiliation with Heritage, The Kenney was unable to keep the facilities up to date and provide the
amenities which a retirement community in today’s market is expected to provide. We are working hard to overcome these obstacles to create a safe, secure, and appealing environment where seniors from West Seattle and beyond can find an affordable option for retirement with a continuum of vital services. We believe this can best be accomplished by accessing the capital that currently exists in the community rental properties on 47 Ave. SW and using it to bring The Kenney up to current standards while assuring that we maintain its rich history.”

The new townhomes at Fauntleroy/Othello were described at last July’s Morgan Community Association meeting. The skilled-nursing closure was first announced more than a year ago.

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Should the Water Taxi charge extra for bicycles? Survey asks that and more https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/should-the-water-taxi-charge-extra-for-bicycles-survey-asks-that-and-more/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/should-the-water-taxi-charge-extra-for-bicycles-survey-asks-that-and-more/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2018 23:05:18 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936190 bikeswatertaxi(Photo courtesy Paul, taken aboard the Water Taxi during 2016 Viaduct closure)

Can’t tell how long it’s been in circulation, but a survey linked from the Water Taxi website has only three days left, and while it’s billed as a survey “to address bicycle capacity issues,” it includes questions of interest to all Water Taxi riders, not just those who bring bikes on board. One question asks whether the Water Taxi should charge extra for bicycles brought on board, and if you think so, how much. The county says the survey is open through Wednesday; you can start it here.

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BNSF Railway making SODO lighting changes to resolve West Seattle-facing ‘brightness issue’ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/bnsf-railway-making-sodo-lighting-changes-to-resolve-west-seattle-facing-brightness-issue/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/bnsf-railway-making-sodo-lighting-changes-to-resolve-west-seattle-facing-brightness-issue/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2018 21:15:13 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936183 (WSB photo of BNSF SIG lights as seen pre-dusk from NB 99 earlier this fall)

This past summer, a change in the lighting at BNSF Railway‘s yard in SODO was glaringly obvious, so to speak, for some east-facing West Seattle residents. The railroad said in a Twitter exchange with one West Seattleite three months ago that it planned to make changes. Finally, those changes are being made. Max tipped us today that BNSF regional spokesperson Courtney Wallace had sent word that work is under way, and she confirmed to WSB:

We are installing a series of color filters that are meant to resolve the brightness issue and will be re-aiming the current fixtures. Work on the north side of our SIG yard has been completed by our environmental team. Filters will be applied to lights in the main SIG yard this Tuesday and Wednesday 12/18-12/19 and continuing on Friday. We hope to have the project complete by this weekend.

(SIG stands for Seattle International Gateway.) Though east-facing West Seattleites are used to port and bridge lighting, the brightness of these fixtures were described by multiple people we heard from as “light pollution.”

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FOLLOWUP: Southwest Pool closure continues for power-outage-damage repair https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-southwest-pool-closure-continues-for-power-outage-damage-repair/ https://westseattleblog.com/2018/12/followup-southwest-pool-closure-continues-for-power-outage-damage-repair/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 19:55:13 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=936178 11:55 AM: As noted here over the weekend, Seattle Parks-owned Southwest Pool had to close because of damage caused during Friday night’s windstorm/power outage. The closure continues today, according to this newly posted update:

Until further notice this week, SW Pool is closed due to boiler heat exchanger damage during a power outage. A new system is being ordered Monday 12/17 and we will reopen as soon as we can.

The pool was one of 10,000-plus homes, businesses, and other buildings that lost power for hours when 50+-mph winds blew through on Friday night.

12:45 PM: Via Twitter, Seattle Parks says the pool is expected to reopen around 3 pm today. We’ll check on its status then.

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