West Seattle, Washington
–Cool article from the latest Seattle Weekly (if the link doesn’t work for you, try it later; the SW site seems a little quirky this am) about an artist whose striking work we saw during breakfasts at Easy Street earlier this year. Seems West Seattle’s Most Famous Musician saw them too, and … the rest is history.
-WS gets a brief mention in a Times piece today by the guy we consider the funniest writer in the local newspaper world, Ron Judd. It’s an imagined Q&A explaining the NW to a non-local, including:
Q: What should I know about West Seattle?
A: It’s lovely, and sort of an island unto itself in a social sort of way. Unfortunately, after the next big earthquake, it very likely will be an island unto itself in a physical sort of way.
Well, at least we already have ferry service.
We might have forgotten to mention this West Seattle traffic tragedy if not for a note we got tonight. A woman riding a bicycle near High Point got hit during the morning commute. I hope the person who wrote me doesn’t mind me using this excerpt — she knows someone related to the victim, but I’ve excised that detail and another personal point:
Early this morning on 35th Ave SW, a 27 year old woman riding north on her bicycle hit a van headed north that turned onto SW Graham in from of her. As she had the right of way, the van driver either didn’t see her or thought he was faster. She’s in Harborview with “life-threatening” injuries. … I’m just thankful my (child) was so entranced by the sight of all of the flashing lights that he didn’t see her bicycle and helmet there on the road.
This makes us think about all the brave folks we see bicycling to work or school or the store, even though we are sadly lacking in bike lanes and other accommodations. Just this morning, Hizzoner stood up and talked about fighting global warming by encouraging more alternative forms of transportation, such as bicycling. Is this just lip service, or will he really make the roads safer for people like this lady who are already trying to do their part?
-Is one of our best-known West Seattle day-care centers in danger? Could be, according to the last item in the new fall newsletter from the Fauntleroy Community Association. The nonprofit group that runs the Fauntleroy Children’s Center at the former Fauntleroy School (uphill from the business districtlet) gets a break on rent from Seattle Public Schools, but apparently the new push to get more $ out of closed school properties (as SPS prepares to close more) could bust that deal. (Seems like the district’s being penny-wise and pound-foolish these days.)
-On the other side of the coin(s), belated props to West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician for stashing some anti-graffiti $ in his new budget (near the end of the first list of bullet points in this city news release). If you’ve been dropping by here a while, you know we think graffiti vandalism is evil. So we don’t mind seeing a few of our tax dollars spent to fight it, although we would also like to see some thought given toward creative restitution — perhaps force graffiti vandals to create actual art that could be auctioned, with the $ to fill a paintout fund? Just an idea.
Scrolling signboard at Viking Bank (which took over the former Burger King location on the east edge of The Junction) says its “lobby” opens this Thursday. We’ve been thinking about exploring alternatives to the Locally Based SuperMegaBank that inertia’s kept us with for years, but a click on the “fee schedule” link on Viking’s home page doesn’t show anything attractive — $33 per overdraft, for example, is worse than Locally Based SuperMegaBank.
We are by no means Starbucks-bashers. You’re bound to find us going thru the new WS drive-thru every so often (especially since it’s right on our path to the bridge). But just for grins, we want to give a shoutout to the many other fine non-mega-mega-chain coffee providers around town (including those for whom coffee is not the main business). This is strictly from memory (and Googling), so please leave a comment to let me know who I’m missing:
Caffe Ladro, Hotwire, C & P, Tully’s on Alki and in Morgan Junction, Diva, Red Cup, Capers, Freshy’s, Bird on a Wire, Al’s Deli & Espresso, Thriftway, Metro Market, Revolution Coffee & Art, Uptown in The Junction and on Delridge, Sleepless, Alki Bakery, Coffee to a Tea with Sugar, Easy Street, Bubbles, Homefront, Zatz, Bikes and Brew, PCC, Verite/Cupcake Royale, Infinity, Alki Mail and Dispatch, and of course the ever-salubrious Java Bean.
You may get a different ad when you click this link for a followup to the Alki Avenue crash, but I have to say that a “Henry150s.com” ad box in the middle of a story about a vigil for a kid who died driving drunk (and the friend who died with him) just sucks. Here’s the screen grab:
Months after we first got a tip that Rainier Roaster at Fauntleroy & 35th would be transformed into West Seattle’s first drive-thru Starbucks … it’s finally about to happen. After a reader wrote to tell us that RR has a sign up saying it’s closing as of this Saturday, we checked the city permits … and there it all is, plain as day. Let’s see … Alki, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Westwood Village, three Safeways, Westwood QFC, and the “half” would be WV Barnes & Noble. Don’t we need just a few more?
You may have noticed already — the Junction boutique Clementine is now open in the former tanning-salon spot next to Pagliacci, with a sign/awning as its facade’s finishing touch. Across the street, in the old Neilsen Florist space, the city’s just accepted the construction-permit application for the food/drink spot that’s been posted for months as the future “Think Tank”; same thing’s just happened a bit to the south for the future Garlic Jim’s. Busy fall ahead (and all this amid the repaving project; a pain now, but how lovely it will be when that’s all done)!
After thinking about it for a few hours, we realized this morning’s Alki Avenue crash that killed 2 teenagers reminds us more of the crash that killed 3 teens on the bridge three months ago, than the Alki Ave crash this past spring. We’ve all been that age; we all know how much you don’t want to listen to adult BTDT wisdom when you’re brimming with the impatience of youth … but if only we could make them listen. And if only we could all join together in protecting them. Who sold or gave them the beer that police were photographed hauling out of the water near the wreckage? Were they young enough that they could or should have had curfews, and been home long before the 5 am death plunge? Truly senseless, in every sense … of the word.
-If you need to travel Alki Avenue/Harbor Avenue near the crash zone (see post below), beware — might be closed for a while — we were just down there a bit to the west side of the bend in the road, and yellow tape still stretched across the road, requiring drivers to turn around and head back toward the beach. Didn’t get to check where the shutdown was on the Harbor Ave side. Meantime, more updates are posted now: P-I story, also channel 5, also channel 7, nothing on the Times site as of 11:45 am … Consensus seems to be the SUV was speeding big-time before careening off the road.
-Speaking of traffic, we also cruised past Chief Sealth HS to see how jampacked the parking areas were for the Mars Hill/WS test run. Lots and lots of signs for “church parking,” including over on the Southwest Community Center side. Hope they are paying the city and school district a bundle of bucks for the privilege of tying all that up …
Just heard the news … two people killed early this morning after missing a turn and driving into the bay. Police 911 call log (link’ll only be valid till 11:59 pm tonight) cites 1238 Alki Avenue (map), with the first callout around quarter past 5 am. As the folks on the Yahoo “Alki Beach Community” group point out, the only local-news source with an online mention right now (including a video link) is channel 4. One of the ABC group members also says police are waiting till low tide early this afternoon to tow the car. This comes five months after another crash in the area that killed 2 people.
-The historic Satterlee House on Beach Drive (aka “The Painted Lady”) and its massive front yard are now separate listings, and the “subject to inspection” status of the listing for the “front yard” land would suggest a sale is near. (That’ll leave the house as a $1.2 million “fixer,” $300K more than it sold for in 2000.)
-Sad to see the latest permit granted for yet another teardown-to-buildup, this one at 1350 Alki Avenue, a red-and-white duplex where we recall seeing planters full of brilliant flowers (almost as memorable a display as Cindi Laws’ old place), till it was sold and marked for death. Goodbye, wood and planters, with a little room for the hillside behind it to breathe; hello, another five-story chunk of concrete, glass, and steel.
Maybe the city is a little bit serious about saving trees after all. Walking down a section of Cali Ave between junctions last night, we noticed two trees in the parking strip by a teardown-to-townhome project at Cali & Spokane — each with a plywood fence around its trunk, each with its trunk marked by a big bright green flyer with this admonition — PROTECT TREE! (I’d like to get a sheaf of those flyers and run around tacking them on just about every tree in sight.)
In no particular order, and certainly not all-inclusive, here’s some of what’s going on this weekend around our side of the bay:
WestFest at Holy Rosary (through Saturday) … second and final weekend of the Green Living Expo @ High Point (on Sat. & Sun.) … new art show opens Sunday at ArtsWest … last full weekend of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi … cooking demo on Sunday at West Seattle Farmers’ Market … debut of Mars Hill Church/West Seattle in its temporary home @ Chief Sealth HS … a cross-WS rivalry game of sorts with Cleveland (currently housed @ Boren) vs. WSHS at West Seattle Stadium on Saturday night …
The governor gets the final say on tunnel vs. new viaduct vs. neither. Here’s a link to tell her what you think she should do. And if you are honked off about city leaders deciding we shouldn’t have a direct say in it, here’s how to e-mail Hizzoner; links to city council members’ e-mail addresses can be found here.
F3 has socked us in pretty good here on the south side of WS, at least the upper reaches. I guess it’s technically the Last Summer Fog since the autumnal equinox doesn’t hit till just after 9 o’clock tonight, but let’s not pick nits over 12 hours.
I know it’ll clear up soon; wish the same could be said about some of the hot local topics in which West Seattle has a stake. Let’s see … according to the papers and the Save Seattle Schools blog, nobody’s happy about the latest school-change proposals, not even the Pathfinder people who were so thrilled to win their “No Boren” fight. And right this very moment as I write, city council members are dropping the gavel on the meeting at which they are likely to sing “Kumbaya” over the tunnel option, despite its wallet-wrenching cost, and proclaim that we voters don’t need to worry our pretty little heads over it. Last but not least, I imagine every caffeinated blogger from coast to coast has thrown in their two cents regarding Starbucks adding five cents. Guess that’s what’ll help pay for the Morgan Junction reno work. Meantime, West Seattle’s original Starbucks (the only one when we got here) hasn’t changed much over time.
Besides loving our side of the bay as it is now and as it will become — we find it cool to discover more about its history. If you share that interest, city pages like this are fun to play with. Don’t let the “unknown” on the main page fool you; click on the “view” link and you’ll probably get at least an infobit (such as, Luna Park Cafe was once “Pat and Ron’s Tavern”) as well as a pic. You can follow the “new search” link and also try one of your own, such as this search by street name with all results along Cali Ave.
Also on the subject of history, we discovered at the Morgan Junction Festival last weekend that you can still get a copy of the incredible, picture-laden “West Side Story” at the Log House Museum (and its gift shop has other “memory books” too).
Somebody pulled out the calculator one more time — and now it seems we can’t afford the only two viaduct options the Powers That Be have been willing to consider. According to the almost-amusing update on The Stranger’s blog, Hizzoner, aka Top Tunnel Pusher, is all atizzy. And the real topline on all this seems to be, uh, never mind about that advisory vote, us council guys will just make the decision, hold our nose, jump in, and hope we’ll hit Mega Millions to raise a few more Big Dig Big Bucks. But why not use this as an excuse to save face and join the folks backing The Third Option after all? We can have a heck of an implosion party, round up some work crews to sweep up the debris, and get back to business.
-Maybe it was sabotage. Seattle Public Schools leaders choose to announce the next round of shutdown plans one day before the Initiative 88 vote. Concurrently, they scamper around floating insanely expensive projects like this. So certainly no surprise the vote turned out this way.
-Never thought a building permit could make me laugh but this one did. The one-line project description is something many of us can identify with in our workplaces: “FINISH WORK STARTED BY OTHERS.”
-Speaking of building permits, work crews are burning the midnight oil at the Morgan Junction Starbucks. We’ve driven by a couple times very late at night in the past week and they’re always very, very busy in there. But no sign yet of the “sidewalk cafe.”
Ours is one of the last few counties where you can still vote in person as well as by mail. So if you haven’t voted yet — today’s the day, 7 am-8 pm. Remember that this is not “just” a primary, even though two of our 34th District state legislators don’t even have general-election opponents; some things WILL be settled today, such as a couple of the state Supreme Court races, and Seattle Initiative 88, the first half of the push to get more $ for city schools (the second half apparently is still caught up in court somewhere).