West Seattle, Washington
Speaking of driving … We seem to spend more and more time stuck in the right lane on The Bridge in the mornings, sludging along to get to the viaduct, then in the right lane on the viaduct in the evenings, sludging along to get to The Bridge. Problem is, more and more of us are pouring into those funnels, now that the city is granting new teardown-to-townhome permits almost daily (putting a dozen or more households where just one once sat). I totally admit to being part of the problem, in my single-occupant (albeit little) vehicle. The bus would cost me 3 hours a day roundtrip right now — 3 hours I can’t spare — and I don’t think Ron Sims’ bus tax is going to make things any better. Laugh at me if you want, but I still mourn the monorail. (I’d settle for a year-round Water Taxi.) See you in the funnel …
Made it up to the Admiral District for the first time in a bit … the road work’s started there too. But don’t let any of this keep you from spending your green in the local bizdists … just allot a little extra time, and get creative with the parking!
At least, it sounds like that’s what happened last night, per Save Seattle Public Schools. I can’t find a news story about the hearing online from either daily paper. Prior to the hearing, though, the WS Herald had comprehensive coverage, even including a new editorial sort of apologizing for the controversial “huge egos” comment in last week’s paper.
The owner of Edie’s Shoes (in The Junction, just west of Easy Street) wrote to let us (and you) know about a cool-sounding event she’s part of this Thursday night: Her store, Carmilia’s, and Sweetie will be open for “late-night shopping” 7-10 pm — with wine and appetizers, she says! Gee, one more nail in the coffin of our WS memories from back whenÃ‚Â apparel offerings in The Junction didn’t go much beyond Shafrans (scroll down for historical photo). A few more of these hi-fash stores, and you’ll half expect to see the “Sex and the City” gals strutting down Cali Ave.
Four weeks till Election Day, maybe less time till “voting day” for you if you use absentee ballots, so it’s never too soon for a reminder that there’s a lot more at stake this time around than just the big statewide races. For one, there’s Seattle Proposition 1, a tax levy for various transportation projects (NOT including the viaduct). Here’s the official city page with the ballot language; here’s how the city council summarized it when they approved it for the ballot; to find some West Seattle specifics, you have to read this and skim ahead to page 5 and beyond. Worth a look before you make a gut decision on “$365 million in taxes, or not?”.
-The latest incarnation of the school-closure hearing roadshow is in West Seattle this week. As I write, the Roxhill hearing is under way; tomorrow night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see fireworks at the Pathfinder/Cooper hearing. You can track the developments more closely at the Save Seattle Public Schools blog (run by a Pathfinder mom).
-Speaking of closures, the viaduct will be out of commission 6 am-6 pm both days this weekend for its twice-yearly “is it REALLY still safe to drive on this thing?” checkup. And in The Junction, a closure related to the Cali Ave repaving is scheduled to continue for a few more days.
-Now, an opening: Sometime in the past few days, the GRAND OPENING banner went up at Kokoras Greek Grill in Morgan Junction, on the east side of Cali Ave, just north of Fauntleroy. We’ll run by in person as soon as we get a chance and report back on the menu offerings.
That question is answered at the end of this heartbreaking story from today’s P-I.
If you’ve been here more than a few years, even if you have never gone below the water’s surface, the idea of dwindling marine life won’t surprise you. Even around WS, we don’t see what we often saw in the ’90s — “rafting” California sea lions off Alki, diverse and numerous bird sightings south of Alki Point including surf scoters and buffleheads.
How could we have missed John Moe? Heard a lot about his new book on the radio while driving around the past few days. The site for his “day job” mentions he lives on this side of the bay; his blog archive mentions some writing sessions at “the West Seattle Uptown Espresso.” (Which one?)
Catching up on biz news tonight, driving most of Cali Ave for the first time in a few days … sorry if it’s old news to you, but now we know what’s replacing Emily Ann’s Dollar Boutique in the prime (but so often turned over) real estate @ the southwest corner of The Junction: Big banner in the window proclaims “A Special Delivery for West Seattle/georgia blu/a baby boutique/Opening November.” Doesn’t surprise me in the least; first came the condos, now comes the baby boom, evidenced every Sunday with the abundance of young families in the crowd at the Farmers’ Market (among other examples). But will this new arrival give birth to a neon sign, to fit in with its corner-mates?
Just a few words before we get back to other business … Yes, I agree with various commenters on the post below that In-n-Out would be the ultimate burger franchise to have here. I didn’t bring it up because there’s no point — they haven’t even expanded into Oregon, much less WA, and until they settle their family trouble, I doubt they’ll go much further than their current Southwest turf. By the way, we just tried the Tacoma Carl’s Jr. — had to go to Tac anyway, so took a side trip (it’s off Highway 16 on the way to Point Defiance, Tacoma Narrows, etc.). Even at 11 am on Sunday morning, the joint was jumping — including a couple members of the Tacoma PD. I predict quick colonization northward. (Bonus trivia question for any other longtime or semi-longtime WS’ites … can you name the burger joint that used to be on the site where Jack in the Box is now? At least, it was still there when we arrived in the early ’90s.)
We haven’t whined about this in nine months, and nobody really knew we were here then. So here we go again. I would never want to see West Seattle turn into a fast-food franchise wasteland, but it’s not going to kill us if we get just one or two more GOOD fast-food burger places. How about Fatburger, a Southern California transplant which has a few places on the east side? How about Carl’s Jr. (also from SoCal), which just opened its first Puget Sound spot (Tacoma)? Or even Wendy’s (which long ago used to inhabit the Ambaum spot that’s now a Peruvian restaurant)? All we have for quick burgers at odd hours are three McDonald’s (yuck) and Jack in the Box. Yes, I know we have some great burgers in non-fast-food-franchise settings (Easy Street, Elliott Bay Brewery, among others), but I’m talking, it’s 10 pm, you’re hungry, you want something fast and relatively cheap. Burien has only half as many people as West Seattle, but at least twice as many burger options. I’m tired of driving there (or to Bellevue) for a decent fast-food burger. Who’s with me? Can we petition somebody? Certainly got the real estate. What’s moving in to the old rental spot on Fauntleroy? How about the boarded-up gas station on Roxbury, west of the Safeway? If we’re going to build all these condos, folks gotta have somewhere to snack!
A sampling of West Seattle fun ‘n’ stuff this weekend: Tonight, the Twelfth Night Cabaret @ Youngstown Arts Center … also tonight, Family Movie Night (“Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,” free!) @ High Point Community Center … first weekend for Tick, Tick … BOOM! at ArtsWest … Saturday, EarthCorps needs help with planting & invasive-plant removal @ Lincoln Park … Sunday, remember the WS Farmers’ Market is still going strong, two more months (lettuce and tree fruit were both awesome last week, among other things)!
If you haven’t recently checked out our tab (above) with that title, you might want to consider taking another look. Almost every day, our searching (and e-mail-reading) turns up yet another blogger who lives here in West Seattle, and some of the finds are true gems, like Mona’s site, whose work induced a reaction truly deserving of the now-antique online acronym ROFLMAO.
Today’s WS Herald editorial takes a sensible tack on one of the other hot issues Seattle Public Schools bosses are wrestling, school choice. (Although taking a detour early in the editorial accusing the Pathfinder K-8 community of having “huge egos” is a cheap shot; their only sin is that they care A LOT about what happens to their program, and if they didn’t fight ferociously for it, they would have been roadkill long ago. This page says they’re planning a show of force at tonight’s school board meeting, by the way.) Anyway, on school choice, the Herald suggests it stay just the way it is, with one big exception: Make parents who want their kids to go to non-neighborhood schools figure out how to get them there. Here in WS, we know a few families already traveling that path — driving their own kids from their home on the north end to their chosen school in the south end, or vice versa. They consider it their responsibility, and arrange their schedules to make it work.
Noticed a fair amount of signs around WS lately touting “Verge Condominiums.” Didn’t realize till a morning drive along Harbor Avenue today that “Verge” is the building across from the piles o’ harbor stuff we always referred to as the “slag heaps” (caveat, I can’t find proof of exactly what’s in those piles). What’s more, it’s got an over-the-top marketing campaign. Signs in front of the building mention (paraphrasing now) “smelling salt spray,” among other fantasies. Checked out the Verge website after the drive and it’s really almost funny. For one, the waves on the home page are open-ocean, “surfing Waimea” type waves, not the “ferry wake” wavelets of Alki. For two, the typestyles are beautiful but they really needed to hire a proofreader (helloo, it’s macchiato, not machiatto; 2 misspellings apiece on this page and this page; then on this page, besides the misuse of “it’s,” the photo of the guy staring quizzically at the Fine Cuisine is good for a laugh).
Redevelopment can be a fine thing. However, you’d think they could sell these condos quite nicely without trying to paint the neighborhood as the next best thing to the OC.
First the Alki Avenue crash that killed two young men … then the 35th SW/SW Graham bicycle-van crash that killed recent West Seattle arrival Susanne Scaringi … now the Times reports that two of the four USS Lincoln sailors who died in Saturday night’s South Seattle smashup had been renting a house in WS.
Someone on the P-I editorial board must be a kindred spirit. In tomorrow’s paper, they ask, why is the Water Taxi nothing more than a “seasonal oddity”? Why aren’t our waterways jumping with little ferryboats that can get people downtown without putting down one single solitary additional ribbon of concrete?
Heck, if we get just a few thousand more people from the relentless wave of teardowns-to-townhomes, the bridge backups will force some of us to consider swimming.
-Remodeling work’s over at the Morgan Junction SBUX. No sign of the “sidewalk cafe” (perhaps just a retroactive permit for the outdoor tables?), but the counter area’s been expanded and reconfigured for two registers. The decor and furniture have been swapped out too; no more wall hangings of coffee trees and Italian scenery, it’s all much more, well, non-coffee-related. I’d love to see the company’s decorating budget. Seems like they revamp “the look” at least every couple years.
-Keeping an eye on the ex-Rainier Roaster to see how soon the Starbucks signs go up. No sign of change Sunday, on Transition Day 1, but I doubt Schultz & co. are in that much of a rush.
–The Mars Hill-West Seattle blog puts turnout for Official WS Debut at 600 people, 90% adults, 10% kids. Can’t help but wonder how this will affect other evangelical Christian churches in WS, such as Calvary. And is everyone from the taken-over Doxa turning out for MH-WS? (Some interesting past posts from other bloggers with some sort of firsthand involvement: here, and here, and here.) UPDATE (10:17 pm): Tomorrow’s P-I covers the service and includes a mention of about 50 ex-Doxa people present.
–Speaking of assimilation … the Save Seattle Public Schools blog has been trying to unravel new confusion over what will really happen if and when, pending school-board approval, Pathfinder moves into Cooper. Maybe some light will be shone when the next round of public hearings starts this week. Or not.
Guess a billboard right over a school will naturally lend itself to more placement problems. Last time we mentioned the billboard over WS Montessori School, it was about a double-entendre; this time, it’s a business conflict … the billboard right over this private school is currently rotating an ad for a rival WS private school. Heh. (P.S. If you ever feel the need to know who owns a certain billboard, here’s another one of the city’s cool search tools.)
On the eve of Mars Hill Church‘s official West Seattle debut in the temporary digs at Chief Sealth HS, the mail brought a postcard inviting us (little ol’ US? well, probably you too, since the card’s addressed to the everpopular “resident”) to join them. The postcard bills MH as “the nation’s 15th fastest growing church” and its main preacher Mark Driscoll as “one of the 25 most influential pastors in America” and “one of Seattle’s 25 most powerful people.” (What was that again about, the meek shall inherit the earth?) The MH-WS blog says more than 400 people showed up for last week’s trial run at CSHS. They will of course join an already-vibrant community of churches in West Seattle, such as (random mention here) the UU’s, who meet in the Masonic Temple on 40th SW; here’s what they’re up to.
Thinking of going to Emerald Downs tomorrow for the last day of “live racing.” The 10th horse in the 10th race is named West Seattle Boy, so if we go, he gets a few of our bucks whether he’s the odds-on favorite or the 3,987,650-to-1 longshot.