VIDEO: Surprise celebration for Dr. Stephen Plymate’s national award

Huge surprise this afternoon for physician and researcher Stephen Plymate, MD, as he returned to his home near Lincoln Park after a walk. Family and friends surprised him with a classic coronavirus-era celebration – a drive-by parade in honor of a national award he’s just won.

Dr. Plymate, who has worked at the UW and the Puget Sound VA for about 20 years, is the 2020 recipient of the Middleton Award, granted annually to a VA scientist for “outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to the health care of Veterans.” As his wife Dr. Lisa Plymate explains, he “is the 4th physician to be granted this award from the Puget Sound VA in the 58 years it has been given out. He’s the first, however, to have his awards ceremony, usually held in D.C. with great fanfare, thwarted by a virus.” But family and friends weren’t going to let the virus preclude a parade, which we recorded on video:

The pandemic has kept Lisa Plymate on the east coast, so, she explains, “Steve’s Tacoma daughter Corinne worked hard to organize this surprise. She contacted his lab and colleagues plus family and friends.”

Along with his work for the Veterans Administration, Stephen Plymate is also a veteran himself, a retired U.S. Army Colonel. A local veterans’ advocate, Seattle Police Lt. Steve Strand, led today’s parade, in his dress uniform:

Pre-parade, as he walked unsuspectingly up the street, Dr. Plymate was serenaded by one of his neighbors, tenor José Iñiguez from Encanto Arts – we caught a bit of that on video too:

More about Dr. Plymate’s accomplishments, from his wife: He “is professor of endocrinology in the Department of Medicine and director of Prostate Cancer Endocrinology as well as a founding member of the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research at the UW and Fred Hutchison. His work has focused on prostate cancer and its treatment for over 25 years. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is internationally known for his work,” which she says he continues to do about “80 hours per week” in addition to remaining “an avid skier and bicyclist.”

Lisa Plymate adds, “Steve’s 12-year-old granddaughter Liora compiled a montage of congratulatory videos sent by family members and colleagues from around the world. This is also a surprise he will be able to watch after the parade. The entire Plymate clan thanks all the scientists, friends, and neighbors who have helped us put this together in his honor. And they’re grateful for this bit of excitement during our stay-at-home era!”

ALKI POINT LIGHTHOUSE: Tours suspended indefinitely

(2015 photo by Long Bach Nguyen)

Usually, Memorial Day weekend would mark the start of tour season at historic Alki Point Lighthouse. Not this year. Just received from Debra Alderman of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has not been given permission to offer public access and tours at the Alki Point Lighthouse during summer 2020 until further notice. Check or the lighthouse’s Facebook page for updates, Questions can be sent via email:

Meantime, you can learn about the lighthouse’s history here.

YOU CAN HELP: Donation drives at Admiral Church today, Alki UCC tomorrow

If you can donate food (and/or other staples), you have two opportunities this weekend:

OUTSIDE ADMIRAL CHURCH: Just under way, the first of six food-donation drives outside Admiral UCC Church (4320 SW Hill), 1-4 pm. As previewed here, they’re collecting “non-perishable and canned food, pet food and cat litter, baking supplies, seasonings and herbs, and bagged fresh produce or home-grown organic vegetables.”

OUTSIDE ALKI UCC: Happening tomorrow at 6115 SW Hinds:

Thanks to our community’s continuing generosity, Alki United Church of Christ is once again accepting donations outside our building for an In-Person, Socially-Distanced Food Drive at 6115 SW Hinds this Sunday, May 24 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Contributions of non-perishable food and other items are distributed via the White Center Food Bank; top requests include Canned Meat/Soup/Fruit (pop‐top cans preferred), Rice, Noodles, Peanut Butter, Oats, Toilet Paper, Diapers, Similac Formula, Cleaning Supplies, Hand Sanitizer, and Baby Wipes.

The drive benefits our vulnerable neighbors in need, those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The food drives continue every other Sunday until further notice.

HISTORY: Southwest Seattle Historical Society workshop will help you with yours

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society wants to help you with YOUR history. Next Thursday, you’re invited to learn about how to ensure your family photos aren’t lost to time:

Join us on May 28th for a live workshop on digitizing your family photos. Have you wanted to scan your photos but don’t know where to start? Ever wondered about the best format to save pictures in? Or how to organize your photo files? Collections Manager Rachel Regelein will walk you through the steps from selecting and scanning images to the aftercare needed to manage and preserve your family photos for future generations! There will be a chance for you to get your digital preservation questions answered and access a downloadable reference guide for you to get started digitizing your photos. Register here.

The workshop will be at 5 pm, and as you’ll see when you click through to the registration page, the cost is a “pay what you can” donation to SWSHS.

NEED FOOD? Donated meals available today at KBM Seattle

Again this week, KBM Seattle and some of its chefs are making free meals available to anyone in need. Keith Mathewson sent the update for this afternoon/evening:

This week’s donation is headed up by The Roll Pod Indian Food Trucks and Bellevue restaurant. The menu is curried chicken with vegetables and spiced rice. Meals will be handed out between 4 pm and 6 pm Saturday.

By (tonight) the members of the kitchen will have made and donated over 4,500 meals. It appears that the number of people coming for meals is dropping from a high of 1200 meals per donation to between 500 to 600; however, the people who do come appear to be in greater need. The line now begins about one hour before we open. I am assuming that some people have been able to return to work but for the ones who haven’t, things are getting worse. We intend to continue for as long as I can finance the program; our costs are about $1.50 to $2/person. If you are not impacted and wish to help, I would like to encourage you to consider donating to the fund, no matter the amount.

Anyone who is impacted is welcome to come; no questions will be asked.

KBM is at 5604 Delridge Way SW. And a reminder, some of the KBM-based businesses are also selling from a streetfront window, listed on our ongoing West Seattle list.

GROCERY SHOPPING: West Seattle notes

We start the weekend with our 10th Saturday-morning update on West Seattle’s standalone grocery stores:

QFC ADDS HOURS AGAIN: For a second week, QFC stores (including the 2 in West Seattle) are expanding their hours – now open 7 am-11 pm, with an hour for senior/elevate-risk shoppers 7 am-8 am weekdays.

MET MARKET ADDS HOURS: Also expanding hours, Metropolitan Market in Admiral, now open 8 am-11 pm with a daily 7-8 am hour for senior/elevated-risk shoppers.

THRIFTWAY PICKUP UPDATE: Monday, no curbside pickup service at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) because of the Memorial Day holiday. Otherwise, it’s available every weekday.

That’s the info we’ve found this time; we’ve updated the hours on our original list. What are you seeing at local stores?


Friday ended on the gray side. So we’ll start the holiday weekend with some views shared by your West Seattle neighbors earlier in the week:

Some beautiful sunsets – above is Theresa Arbow O’Connor‘s photo from Thursday night; below, Lynn Hall‘s photo from Monday night:

Tuesday night, Nicole Neufeld recorded this timelapse:

And three views with vessels:

Above, John Hinkey photographed a barge in a sunbreak Tuesday night; below, David Hutchinson noted an outbound cargo ship with the Olympic Mountains as a post-sunset backdrop Friday night:

And Dan Keller caught the fireboat’s show off Alki on Wednesday:

Thanks again to everyone!

CORONAVIRUS: Friday 5/22 roundup

As we end the 12th week since King County’s first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced, here’s our nightly roundup:

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:

*7,697 people have tested positive, up 52 from yesterday

*537 people have died, up 3 from yesterday

One week ago, those totals were 7,360 and 516.

4 MORE DEATHS AT THE MOUNT: One of the county’s dashboards includes data on long-term-care facilities, updated weekly. On that dashboard is a list of King County facilities with five or more deaths attributed to COVID-19. One West Seattle facility is on this list – Providence Mount St. Vincent, with 6. (Last direct update we received from The Mount was four weeks ago, when they announced 2 deaths.)


WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them – nation by nation – here.

NEW WEST SEATTLE TESTING SITE: According to this King County Public Health testing-site list, the UW Mobile Clinic will do COVID-19 testing at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Fridays starting next week (May 29th). No other details; we’ll be following up next week.

NATIONAL GUARD STAYING OR GOING? A bit of a battle in “the other Washington” over whether the feds will keep funding the National Guard‘s pandemic deployment past late June. In our area, Guard members are helping out at food banks, like this group we photographed earlier this week at the White Center Food Bank:

Gov. Inslee sent a letter today imploring the Trump Administration to let the Guard members keep helping until late July.

GETTING READY TO GRADUATE: A special event today for the West Seattle High School Class of 2020.

GOT INFO? or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Another car thief on camera

The photos and report are from Ron:

My 1999 Honda CR-V was stolen early AM on Thursday morning (3:55 am) from Village Square Condominium complex directly across from Westwood Village. We were able to obtain fairly good photos of him. Really upset about this – the vehicle has been stolen more than once and regrettably the alarm and other potential (prevention) measures were yet to be implemented.

Color of vehicle is Navy blue (Honda calls it “Midnight Pearl Blue”). It has stock alloy wheels and brand new Michelin tires. The car was in great shape for its age and hopefully still is.

(Updated) Plate #009-YQY; report # is 20-167310. Call 911 if you see Ron’s car.

FOLLOWUP: Demolition planned at Orchard Street Ravine expansion site

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.”

VIDEO: Celebrating West Seattle High School’s Class of 2020

(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)

Even without traditional commencement ceremonies, the Class of 2020 is graduating, and that’s what an event outside West Seattle High School this afternoon was all about.

It was a drive-up/walk-up event to pick up caps and gowns.

Seniors and families were cheered as they drove through the lot:

(Video courtesy Clay Eals)

Students were reminded to vote for the Senior Class Awards, too:

Among the staff and volunteers there to cheer the seniors, WSHS principal Brian Vance:

In lieu of the usual gatherings, the district is arranging virtual events. In the meantime, you can also cheer grads in your neighborhood – look for yard signs –

(Reader photo via text)

P.S. Cap-and-gown pickup for Chief Sealth International High School is set for next Wednesday.

FOOD/DRINK NOTES: Holiday weekend and beyond

3 food/drink notes for Memorial Day weekend and beyond (in addition to our ongoing food-and-beverage-businesses list):

GRILL-AT-HOME SPECIAL: Getaways might be out of the question, but – depending on the weather – you might mull grilling. Toward that end, Phoenecia in The Junction (4717 42nd SW) is offering a grill-at-home dinner for 2, available Sunday & Monday, $59 – four courses including warm pita with a trio of spreads, Lebanese Malfouf Salad, a trio of kabobs, and berry cheesecake. Text 206-250-5482 to pre-order. (Anybody else with Memorial Day specials? Let us know!)

TAT’S TRUCK ADDS A DAY: As reported back on Tuesday, Tat’s Truck will launch weekend visits at Hans VW Repair (35th/Graham) this weekend. Since that first report, they’ve decided to be there Sundays as well as Saturdays.

DONATION DAY AT OUNCES: Happening the day after Memorial Day, at Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW):

Buy beer and food to-go and help those in need!

On Tuesday, May 26th from 4-7 pm, we ask you to bring your business to Ounces so we can all come together and support the West Seattle Food Bank.

On this day, both Ounces & Beanfish Food Truck will donate 10% of all sales back to the West Seattle Food Bank. Not only will you be supporting local business, but you can help feed others in our community as well!

Want to help more?! Bring your canned good donations to Ounces and we’ll deliver them to the food bank!

We understand not everyone is comfortable venturing out at this time, therefore we are also including any sales to our online website or digital gift card purchases made on this day.

Online orders:

Gift Cards:

Specials? Changes? Reopenings? or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!

UPDATE: Crash blocking South Park Bridge

(SOOT image via Twitter)

3:12 PM: In case you were planning to cross the Duwamish River any time soon – note that a crash response is blocking the South Park Bridge on the SP side, at 14th/Dallas.

3:43 PM: The scene has been cleared.

MEMORIAL DAY 2020: Where to find poppies Monday

(WSB photo from May 2019)

This Memorial Day will be without most of the traditional West Seattle observances. No flags in The Junction; no service at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor). But we do have this announcement from American Legion Post 160 commander Keith Hughes:

As you are all aware, we are still under the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, so there will not be any of the usual Memorial Day activities/services. However, on Monday I will be at the Legion Hall with Memorial Day Poppies (9 am-5 pm), and there will be a Texas BBQ Food Cart (Veteran owned and operated) next door at Mountain to Sound Outfitters that will be giving 25% discounts to Veterans & Families from 1 PM to 5 PM. In addition to the Vets Discount, he also donates a percentage of his net to the DAV Emergency Fund. If you happen to be out that day (for an essential trip), please ware your face mask and stop by for a poppy.

Post 160 is at 3618 SW Alaska.

FOLLOWUP: Day 2 of power outage in Brace Point area

12:12 PM: 34 hours and counting for that power outage we first mentioned Thursday morning. It started around 2:30 am Thursday with 160+ customers, and doubled before noon. Here’s the newest info from Seattle City Light‘s Julie Moore:

As I noted yesterday, it can take longer to find the issue in the underground system than with an overhead system. We’ve had crews onsite since the outage occurred and late yesterday morning we did locate the issue – a direct buried cable that went bad. Direct buried means just that – it is directly buried in the ground and not within conduit (this is an older system in this location; we no longer install systems in this manner). Unfortunately, the bad cable is also buried 8 feet under the road, which makes it more difficult to access.

The number of customers impacted increased from 165 to 337 because we needed to expand the outage to safely make the repairs.

The crews just tested the initial repairs and the fix is not fully complete. We have to do some more investigation of the cable. Crews will continue until restoration is complete.

8:50 PM: Liz commented about 45 minutes ago that she had power back; the City Light map shows the entire outage is now over. (If you’re still out, be sure to call SCL!)

FOLLOWUP: Roxbury repaving expected to start Tuesday

SDOT says work is expected to start Tuesday on the Roxbury spot-repaving project, between 16th and 18th SW. (We’ve confirmed with King County that the work will cover their side of the street, too – they’ll be reimbursing the city for their share of the cost.) Here’s the alert that SDOT is sending today:

What’s happening

• We will be removing the old layer of asphalt from SW
• Roxbury St between 16th Ave SW and 18th Ave SW
• Paving new asphalt
• Putting the road markings back in their original locations

What to expect while we pave SW Roxbury St between 16th Ave SW and 18th Ave SW

• This work will happen before the end of May 2020
• The work will take up to a week to complete
• Driveways will be closed during the daytime hours
• Westbound traffic will be detoured via Delridge Way, SW, SW Barton Pl, and 26th Ave SW

• Side street closure of 18th Ave SW
• Expect to experience increased construction activity such as large trucks, rollers, work crews, noise, dust, vibrations, and odors

This work does not preclude any potential future safety improvements in this area.

Work like this is always weather-dependent, but next week’s weather is looking fairly dry so far.

TRAFFIC ALERT: West Seattle low-bridge overnight closures for maintenance work May 29-31

Heads up for next weekend – SDOT plans low-bridge work next Friday-Sunday (May 29-31), with some overnght closures:

We will be doing necessary maintenance work on the controls and communications systems that are used to operate the bridge. The work will be done at night to minimize traffic impacts and because some of the systems need to be turned off during the maintenance activities.

We will be closing the low bridge to vehicle, bike, and pedestrian traffic while we are working at night because we will not be able to open and close the bridge in a normal manner. As a result, roadway traffic, including freight and buses, will be detoured to the 1st Ave or the South Park bridges. The low bridge will also be closed to bicyclists and pedestrians, and emergency vehicles will have limited access across the low bridge. Waterway traffic will be maintained.

These restrictions will only be in place at night while we are working during the following hours:

• Friday night (5/29-30): 8 PM to 5 AM
• Saturday night (5/30-31): 6 PM to 3 AM
• Sunday night (5/31-6/1): 6 PM to 3 AM (if needed)

During the day, transit, emergency vehicles, freight, bikes, and pedestrians will have access to the bridge.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday notes, 9th week of West Seattle Bridge closure

6:03 AM: Good morning – the 60th morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. Though few will travel, we’re going into a holiday weekend. Here are the cameras for the 5-way intersection at West Marginal/Delridge/Spokane/Chelan, and the restricted-access low bridge (where SPD enforcement continues):

Since the main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map), that’s the next camera:

The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map) – this camera shows the approach:

Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about any of those bridges opening for marine traffic.

You can see all local traffic cams, including the new ones in West Seattle, here; locally relevant cameras are also shown on this WSB page.


Metro – Reduced schedule; reduced capacity; check here for next departure

Water TaxiReduced schedule continues (note: NO SERVICE Monday because it’s Memorial Day)

Sound Transit note – Link light rail and Sounder trains will start charging fares again June 1st


Repaving/pavement repair at 6th/Spokane is scheduled to continue today.

During the stay-home order, we’re not live-monitoring morning traffic, but we’ll update with word of incidents, so please let us know what you’re seeing – comment or text (but not if you’re drivingl!) 206-293-6302.


The photos and report are from Nicole:

Our work van was broken into (Wednesday) night sometime between 5:15 pm Wed and 9 am (Thursday) morning when we discovered it. All of my husband’s tools were stolen including his toolbox set, toolbag and his cordless Pex toolkit, all Milwaukee brand.

The Milwaukee toolbox and toolbag contained many tools – all had his name, “Julio” written on them in black marker, except the Pex toolkit. Even the bag and toolboxes have his name written on them. All the tools inside the Milwaukee bag and toolboxes were Dewalt and most are yellow/black. There were impact driver, hammer drill, saw tool, batteries and battery chargers.

The van was parked next to our complex office at Lighthouse apartments on Delridge Way SW. A couple small HVAC tools were found on the grounds and returned to us but all the expensive drills and tools within the toolbox and bag are gone. We’ve reported to Seattle Police and are waiting for the police report number.

UPDATE: House fire on 11th SW

(Photo courtesy Tim Durkan)

9:55 PM: Another big Seattle Fire call – this time in the 9200 block of 11th SW (map). SFD says it’s a “confirmed working fire in a residential building.” Updates to come.

10:04 PM: Fire is reported to be under control.

(WSB photo)

10:16 PM: No injuries, per SFD.

(WSB photo)

10:23 PM: Our crew talked to SFD at the scene. Much of the damage is in the garage. The family who lives there got out OK.

11:20 PM: SF says the fire is out and under investigation and also – a cat is missing.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: SFD says the fire was determined to have started accidentally.

CORONAVIRUS: Thursday 5/21 roundup

Here’s our nightly roundup, running way later than usual tonight because of breaking news:

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:

*7,645 people have tested positive, up 28 from yesterday

*534 people have died, up 4 from yesterday

One week ago, those totals were 7,307 and 514.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.

WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: More than 5.1 million cases. See the global outbreak breakout, nation by nation, here.

GOVERNOR CANCELS: Last night we mentioned the governor had another briefing scheduled this morning. Didn’t happen – a cancellation announcement was sent this morning instead.

HASHTAG FOR THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND: From the state Health Department, urging you to #RecreateResponsibly:

The long weekend is a welcome opportunity for families and households to get outside for fresh air and exercise. Most state lands and parks are now open for day use; camping at state parks is still not allowed. Here are some reminders about how to #RecreateResponsibly while we all continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19:

*Stay local. Find a place to hike, picnic, or take a walk that is close to home. Please avoid traveling outside your own county borders to popular destinations

*Avoid crowded areas. Public gatherings are still not allowed.

*Enjoy the outdoors with people in your immediate household.

*Follow physical distancing and etiquette rules such as wearing a cloth face covering and staying six feet apart from others.

As long as we all #RecreateResponsibly, spending time outside is good for our mental and physical health.

SPEAKING OF HASHTAGS … here’s more on what #SeattleTogether is about.

ALSO FROM THE CITY … a new toolkit to help small businesses and nonprofits who need to renegotiate their rent.

UNEMPLOYMENT INFO: Nonprofit Neighborhood House has produced informational videos in 9 languages.

GOT INFO? Email us at or phone us, text or voice, at 206-293-6302 – thank you!

UPDATE: Rescue response off 4500 block of Beach Drive = false alarm

(Added: Photo by Tiff Rivera)

8:40 PM: Big SFD response is headed for Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook (map), where two people are reported to be in the water. Updates to come.

8:43 PM: SFD says the two people are “swimmers in distress.”

8:48 PM: Now they’re saying that it looks like the “swimmers” are actually “two divers on the surface” who do NOT appear to be in trouble. But a boat crew will continue that way to check with/on them.

(Added: Video by Nicole Neufeld)

9:06 PM: A rescue-boat crew has just made contact and confirmed the divers “are not in trouble at all.”

SCHOOLS: Seattle Lutheran HS recognition for the Class of 2020

No commencement ceremony does NOT mean no celebration for the Class of 2020. The photos and report are from Seattle Lutheran High School (which is north of The Junction):

Seattle Lutheran High School principal Dave Meyer delivered signs and gifts to the Class of 2020.

After an incredible year, the Senior class were given signs and gifts to recognize their achievement and perseverance throughout an historical end of the school year. “Seattle Lutheran delivers,” said a parent.

Go Saints!