West Seattle Crime Watch: Dumping; vandalism

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:

DUMPING: Michael sent the photo and video below after reporting this last night:

This pickup truck just dumped 10 huge black bags of what appear to be trash in front of our house, and sped off. Video attached of vehicle. You can hear them throwing the trash out in the beginning.

Non emergency line was called and police were supposedly dispatched. Would love it if you shared and asked folks to be on the lookout for that pickup, this is a pretty brazen dumping on a public street. This was on 32nd Avenue SW between 106th and 105th.

VANDALISM: And from Arbor Heights, Evelyn asks, “Did anyone else in the Arbor Heights get your house egged around 1 am? We got woken up by a huge loud noise and realized someone egged our home.” It has been reported to police.

VIADUCT TO TUNNEL: New traffic-info website and other updates as January 11th Highway 99 closure approaches

(WSB photos. Future Alaskan Way surface signal, in what’s still a construction zone where today’s briefing was held)

12:20 PM: Close to where northbound vehicles will enter the new Highway 99 tunnel starting in a few months, WSDOT, SDOT, and Metro just held another update/briefing event for the media.

Part of it was intended to underscore just how much work has to be done during the ~3 weeks between permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and opening of the tunnel – this new WSDOT video explains it:

No major new information about the closure period at today’s briefing, but we were there and noted some key points:

-SDOT has launched a new traffic-info website today at seattletraffic.org (this is where you can, among other things, sign up for neighborhood-specific alerts, which were previewed at a previous briefing)
-Metro is working on a new batch of brochures with information on bus changes
-Metro also notes that during the closure it will be “more dynamic,” with rerouting “on the fly” if needed
-The Water Taxi “two-boat” schedule information should be available online “soon”

(WSDOT’s tunnel/viaduct project administrator Dave Sowers)

-WSDOT says the tunnel will be toll-free into the summer, with tolling probably not starting until July/August
-You’re now warned that this is really just the start of a 5-year period of transportation turbulence in the city
-West Seattleites are reminded again that the three-week Highway 99 closure, and tunnel opening, will be followed by another two weeks or so of work before the new connection for those exiting NB 99 to downtown is ready to open

Otherwise, the big dates ahead are the same – January 4th for the closure of the SB 99 ramp to SODO, January 11th for the Alaskan Way Viaduct permanent shutdown/Highway 99 closure to get connection work done on both ends of the tunnel (again, the WSDOT video above explains), February 2-3 for the goodbye/hello weekend, tunnel opening TBA after that. We recorded today’s briefing and are processing the video, and will add it along with more toplines when ready.

7:42 PM: Here’s our video of the entire briefing:

Speakers were WSDOT’s Dave Sowers, SDOT’s Heather Marx, and Metro’s Bill Bryant. And another reminder – southbound 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge this weekend for more prep work, starting around 9 tomorrow night and potentially continuing until very early Monday (as usual, we’ll publish an update if the closure ends early). This is a weather-dependent closure, WSDOT says, but so far the weekend forecast looks mostly dry.

One more reminder – next chance to bring your questions directly to transportation reps will be Monday’s meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, 6:30 pm November 19th at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon).

8 for your West Seattle Thursday

(Chestnut-backed chickadee, photographed by Robin Sinner, shared via the WSB Flickr group)

Highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

DINE-OUT BENEFIT: Lincoln Park Co-op Preschool benefits from part of the proceeds today at MOD Pizza in West Seattle – mention the co-op when you order. 10:30 am-10 pm. (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW)

PRESCHOOL STORY TIME: 11 am at Delridge Library – stories, songs, and rhymes! (5423 Delridge Way SW)

WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 6 pm meeting at Admiral UCC. Featured tonight: Screening of the movie “RBG.” (4320 SW Hill)

WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: Learn about timebanking at this month’s meeting – all welcome, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (4217 SW Oregon)

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC. (6115 SW Hinds)

BILL DAVIE: Live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

‘JANE EYRE’: Opening night for the new musical at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor), 7:30 pm. Get tickets here! (4711 California SW)

‘FOOLS’ AT WSHS: Just two more chances to see the West Seattle High School Drama Club production of Neil Simon‘s “Fools,” with curtain time at 7:30 pm tonight. Ticket info is in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)

YES, THERE’S MORE … find it all on our complete calendar, and preview the pre-Thanksgiving holiday events via our Holiday Guide!

West Seattle whales: SB this morning, NB this afternoon

8:21 AM: Thanks to Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales for the tip: Orcas are southbound in the Fauntleroy ferry lanes right now.

9:32 AM: Still southbound – see comments, with photos including the one we reposted above, from Jsmyth.

4:30 PM: Now northbound, visible from The Arroyos, reports Kersti Muul.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch

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

6:28 AM: Big early backup because of a crash in the NB Battery Street Tunnel. One lane has reopened but one remains closed. Also, NB I-5 downtown has had some trouble, most recently a crash stalled vehicle at Seneca.

STADIUM ZONE TONIGHT: 5:20 pm kickoff for Seahawks vs. Green Bay at CenturyLink Field.

6:33 AM: Both BST lanes are now open, says SDOT, because: “Collision has been relocated north of the tunnel at Thomas St blocking the right northbound lane.”

6:46 AM: Per scanner, police are checking out a crash on 35th by the stadium (south of Avalon).

6:49 AM: That crash is not blocking and no one requires medical attention. Meantime, the NB 99 “relocated” crash has cleared, and so has the NB I-5 stall.

8:50 AM: Stalled truck on EB bridge past Fauntleroy entrance.

UPDATE: West Seattle sea lion deaths under investigation

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)

9:29 PM WEDNESDAY: A dead sea lion found on the shore just west of Seacrest Park today was the fourth and possibly fifth that Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network has responded to, and the deaths are under investigation. We photographed the dead animal at midmorning – by which time it was already tied to driftwood – and talked with Seal Sitters later. In addition to this one, they’ve responded to two at Jack Block Park and one in the 1500 block of Alki Avenue, plus received a report of one that they say might be the same one dealt with today. We reported on a Jack Block discovery last month:

(October photo by David Hutchinson)

Questions about whether the sea lions had been shot come amid multiple incidents in which people reported hearing/seeing gunfire offshore – including this one back on November 4th, and this one in late September. We’ve heard tonight from “Diver Laura” James that the sea lion near Seacrest will likely be moved to a less-public location tomorrow for necropsy, to check on whether it might have a bullet wound. Seal Sitters’ Lynn Shimamoto, meantime, tells us that NOAA is expecting to have a statement about the investigations tomorrow.

P.S. Checking the archives, we’ve covered sea-lion shooting deaths in 2010 and 2012.

ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: Michael Milstein of NOAA confirms that the agency’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the deaths; the agency will have more to say later. We asked about laws/policies that would cover this – here’s the reply.

11:35 AM UPDATE: The carcass from west of Seacrest is being towed right now to the necropsy site at Don Armeni.

11:45 AM: On the other side of the bay, Kersti Muul tells WSB, a sea lion carcass has been found near the Seattle Aquarium. She says it might be the same one she spotted on a West Seattle beach recently that wasn’t recovered before the tide took it away.

2:26 PM: A second sea lion, recovered from the 1500 block of Alki SW, has been taken to Jack Block for a necropsy too. Separate followup coming up a bit later this afternoon.

West Seattle scene: Local author Betsy Bell at HomeStreet Bank

Tonight at HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor), local author Betsy Bell read from, and signed copies, of her new book “Open Borders.” She describes it as “a personal story of love, loss and anti-war activism … a fascinating trip back to the 80s when Seattle realized we were a target in the case of a nuclear war. I was part of the big wake-up call to prevent such a thing. My husband and daughter and I joined a group of people who traveled into the USSR to deliver a letter of peace at the height of the Cold War.” You can find out more about the author at her website.

Still have questions about the viaduct-to-tunnel transition?

As noted, it’s less than two months now until the January 11th date announced for permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and start of a three-weeks-and-then-some-for-us transition. Three things of note:

1. If you’re on-peninsula tomorrow afternoon, you’re invited to a 1 pm information session in Olympic Hall on the south end of South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) – details here.

2. Next Monday night, you’re also welcome at the 6:30 pm Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon), which will include a briefing.

3. We’ll be covering another state/city/county media briefing tomorrow – if you have a transition question that’s so far gone unanswered, let us know (in a comment below, or message us) – we’ll do what we can to get the answer.

FOLLOWUP: 35th SW crossing improvements postponed

More than a few transportation project delays in our area lately, and here’s another. Almost two weeks ago, SDOT told us that work would start as soon as next week on crossing improvements at three 35th SW intersections, including the new signal at 35th/Dawson, as shown above. Then today, project spokesperson Miguela Marzolf contacted us to say, “Regarding the construction schedule, we have postponed the start date and we are working with the contractor to determine further details, including the phasing of the work.” So – don’t expect to see construction crews show up soon after all. But for details of what’s eventually going to happen – see our previous report. If you have questions (beyond “when?”), SDOT now has a project mailbox at neighborhoodimprovements2018@seattle.gov.

POWER OUTAGE: West Seattle YMCA expects to reopen Thursday morning

4:41 PM: A power outage is forcing the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) to close its Triangle location for the rest of the day, says executive director Shalimar Gonzales: “Due to an intermittent power outage, we are closing our West Seattle location for the rest of the evening. Our Fauntleroy facility will remain open normal hours today.”

8:57 PM: Update – “Our current power outage is impacting 5 properties including our West Seattle location due to a faulty cable. Seattle City Light will be working overnight to replace the cable and restore power to the area. We anticipate re-opening the West Seattle facility at 8 am on Thursday, November 15th.”

FOLLOWUP: Tax-underpayment charges against Tacos Guaymas owner dismissed

Eight months ago, the state Attorney General’s Office announced theft charges against the owner of six Tacos Guaymas restaurants, including West Seattle, accusing him of using “sales suppression software” to avoid paying millions in sales tax. We’ve been tracking the case as it proceeded slowly through the system. Then last week, in King County Superior Court, the criminal charges against Salvador Sahagun were dismissed, as part of an agreement in which his Green Lake restaurant, as a “corporate defendant,” entered an “Alford plea” (pleading guilty but asserting innocence) to second-degree theft. The subsequent announcement sent by Sahagun’s lawyers notes they are hoping next that the civil actions will be dropped too. They wrote:

The cases filed March 10th in King County Superior Court, along with a parallel action in Snohomish County, accused Salvador Sahagun of pocketing more than $5.6 million in state sales taxes through the use of sales suppression software in what the state described as a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the state.

Attorneys Robert Chicoine and Richard Ainsworth announced that the King and Snohomish charges were dismissed after demonstrating to state prosecutors that the Department of Revenue (DOR) had made erroneous assumptions, used unreliable evidence, and drew unsupportable conclusions about Sahagun’s sales reports and payments of sales tax due, as well as business and occupation taxes.

The Attorney General prosecutors and the defense agreed that one of Sahagun’s corporations did, in fact, owe $800 on a reporting error unrelated to the use of sales suppression software, not $5.6 million as charged, court documents show.

“My client, a good man who is well known for being a leader in the community, decided that it was in his company’s best interest to agree to an additional tax of $800 rather than become entangled in expensive and time-consuming litigation. The important thing is that the prosecutors saw the light and agreed to dismiss all charges against Sahagun,” Chicoine said.

The Attorney General’s Office filed charges against Sahagun personally, relying on the DOR’s claims that six Tacos Guaymas restaurants had used prohibited sales suppression software to hide receipts when, in fact, none of the restaurants had used suppression software.

Ferguson’s office filed the case, prompting significant media coverage not only due to the size of the alleged fraud, but also for the sophistication of the technology allegedly employed by Sahagun.

According to the Attorney General Robert Ferguson’s press release, Sahagun was accused of “pocketing more than $5.6 million in sales taxes.” DOR representatives said the case marked only the second time state prosecutors had brought tax theft charges on behalf of the Washington DOR for alleged use of sales suppression software.

At the time the charges were filed, the state claimed that it was the largest sales suppression software case in Washington state history, and potentially the largest in the country. Although claims of tax fraud by sales suppression technology were ultimately shown to be untrue, the extensive media coverage cost Tacos Guaymas sales and unfairly damaged Sahagun’s reputation, Chicoine noted.

“When I came into work, one of my employees showed me the story in the paper. I was shocked the state filed criminal charges against me based on unrealistic assumptions and unsupportable estimates,” said Sahagun. “The Department of Revenue assumed that I was using advanced technology designed to cheat the government in ways that I never could, and never would. Fortunately, Chicoine and his team understood the technology and relied on the facts and computer analysis to convince the prosecutors that the DOR could not support its charges and they should be dismissed.”

According to Chicoine, a Seattle tax lawyer who represents a number of restaurateurs accused of electronic sales suppression tax fraud, the defense team was able to show the trial prosecutors that many of the DOR audit conclusions were flawed and that the DOR agents did not fully understand the technology involved.

“We got down in the technological weeds with this case, and helped the state see that Sahagun’s stores were following the rules in terms of reporting sales,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the charges were brought in the first place, but we are thankful the prosecutors reviewed all of our evidence, and with the Attorney General’s approval, did the right thing in dismissing the charges.”

Chicoine anticipates that the Attorney General’s Office will revamp criminal tax referral procedures in the future as a result of the Sahagun case. This is a positive outcome not only for Mr. Sahagun, but also for many other Washington business owners who may be suspected of tax fraud by the DOR. He hopes that the DOR will follow suit and dismiss the civil tax loss claims against Sahagun’s businesses based on unsubstantiated and disproven electronic sales suppression assumptions.

“I am so relieved to put this criminal charge behind me and focus all my attentions on running my business, and taking care of those around me,” said Sahagun.

Court documents in the criminal-case agreement say the Green Lake “corporate defendant” was sentenced to pay a $750 fine. In that agreement, Sahagun wrote that while he didn’t believe the “corporate defendant” was guilty of theft, “I discovered evidence that a former management employee embezzled collected receipts, including sales taxes, from the corporation and therefore from the DOR, which likely resulted in an underreporting of the corporation’s receipts in the amount stipulated in the plea agreement. The embezzlement was unknown to me when returns were filed and sales taxes were remitted.”

FOLLOWUP: Prep Table open in North Admiral

A week and a half after a reader tip pointed us to a new business in North Admiral, the proprietor of Prep Table has announced it’s officially open. Jillian Shane is offering cooking classes, describing them as “A new way to approach food and cooking. Learn the techniques chefs know that will teach you how to cook more delicious food!” Her background: “I have 8 years’ experience and in that time I have worked for three James Beard-winning Chefs. My focus at Prep Table is to share cooking techniques…not just make recipes. And almost as importantly, to grow a community with people. Food = Community.” The teaching kitchen is at 4304 SW Walker and the classes are listed online.

HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS: West Seattle Junction wreaths going up

Thanks to Brian Presser of TouchTech Systems for the tip – the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays wreaths are going up right now! As always, you can expect a sleighful of holiday activities in The Junction – listed here and in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide. Biggest night of the season will be December 1st, with the Night Market 3-7 pm in the street on SW Alaska by Junction Plaza Park and the Tree Lighting at 6 pm – this year, with special performances throughout the afternoon/evening rather than just at the lighting ceremony.

P.S. Got a holiday event, for now through New Year’s, anywhere in West Seattle/White Center/South Park? Please send us the info ASAP so we can add it to our guide – westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

7 for your West Seattle Wednesday!

(Surf Scoter, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Seven from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for the rest of your Wednesday:

FOOD & DRINK FUNDRAISER: Restaurants and coffee shops around Seattle are donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project today in the Chefs+Together Seattle benefit. Check the list for updated local participation.

LUNCH AND LEARN: This month’s Equity in Education Coalition event is at noon at the Bethaday Community Learning Space in White Center – exploring “The Intersection of Racism and Mental Health.” Details in our calendar listing. (605 SW 108th)

DENNY PTSA: 6:30 pm meeting in the Denny International Middle School library. (2601 SW Kenyon)

34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS: 7 pm, our area’s largest political organization meets for the first time since the election. Agenda info is in the newest newsletter (PDF). Meeting’s at The Hall at Fauntleroy. (9131 California SW)

‘THE DETENTION LOTTERY’: Second and final chance for this immersive theater experience written by a local immigration lawyer, as explained here. 7 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe. (35th/Myrtle)

POEMS AND STORIES: Monthly PoetryBridge event at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7 pm, with featured readers Benjamin Schmitt and Jason Kirk – details here. (5612 California SW)

‘FOOLS’ AT WSHS: Three more chances to see the West Seattle High School Drama Club (which provided the photo above) production of Neil Simon‘s “Fools,” starting at 7:30 pm tonight. Ticket info is in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)

AS ALWAYS, THERE’S MORE … see our complete calendar, and preview the pre-Thanksgiving holiday events via our Holiday Guide!

West Seattle whale-watching: Northbound orcas

8:40 AM: Again this morning, you have a chance to watch for orcas off West Seattle shores. Kersti Muul tells us they’re headed northbound and about to emerge from Colvos Passage on the west side of Vashon Island, so watching from west-facing West Seattle might yield a sighting. Rain will hamper visibility to some degree – but on the other side, those dorsal fins are extra-visible against silver water. Let us know if you see them!

10:44 AM: Just talked with Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail, at Constellation Park looking for the whales. Not in view yet, she says, but visibility is improving.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch

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

7:03 AM: Two incidents as we begin:

SOOT reports a crash at Delridge/Andover
Kersti reports a crash on southbound California just south of Fauntleroy, with the sidewalk newspaper boxes hit and strewn across the sidewalk

No SFD dispatch for either one thus far, so apparently no injuries of note.

7:27 AM – ADVANCE ALERTS: Reminder of the SB Highway 99 closure this weekend – late Friday night through early Monday. And tomorrow (Thursday), the Seahawks play Green Bay at 5:30 pm at CLink.

8:30 AM: The NB 1st Avenue South Bridge has a new crash blocking two lanes.

8:47 AM: One of those involved, in comments, reports and requests:

5 car accident on the (NB) 1st Ave Bridge. My car was hit. I’ve made sure we moved to the left lane. If it’s possible for everyone to not yell, honk, and tell me I’m a horrible person for blocking their commute, that would be awesome. I didn’t want my car hit this morning and to be inconvenienced either.

8:49 AM: And if you are bridge-bound on Admiral Way, just heard police dispatched to an incident there.

9 AM: 1st Avenue South Bridge scene is clear.

9:38 AM: Two reports from the eastbound West Seattle Bridge – one from a reader who reports a crash near the curve before Nucor, another via scanner reporting a crash by the 99 exit.

Fauntleroy Community Association: Police, ferries, festival …

Toplines from tonight’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting:

POLICE: Southwest Precinct operations commander Lt. Steve Strand presented updates. Person-to-person crimes such as assaults and robberies are dow in the Fauntleroy area, while auto theft is up. Squatters were cleared from a vacant house. Some reports have come in about camping in Lincoln Park but police haven’t found anyone yet. One board member mentioned an uptick in car camping near the park and Lt. Strand said they’d investigate, as it was a problem toward the north end of the park a few months back. Though it’s not in the Fauntleroy area, he mentioned that Myers Way, where campers were cleared earlier this fall, will be revisited as there are reports that campfires are being seen in the area.

And a reminder: The Public Safety Survey conducted by Seattle University to assess attitudes on crime, safety, and policing, is still open – go here to answer it before November 30th.

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy ferry dock, last month)

FERRIES: With Gary Dawson‘s retirement from the board, Frank Immel is now the point person on Washington State Ferries issues. WSF is working toward its next Long-Range Plan, with a comment period on the draft version earlier this fall. Immel suggested FCA should work on its talking points regarding the ferry system’s future. He’ll summarize the major issues and suggested positions the board can discuss at its next meeting.

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy Fall Festival, last month)

FAUNTLEROY FALL FESTIVAL: Though FCA doesn’t organize this, it provides major support, and the board heard tonight that the October 21st festival (WSB coverage here) was a big hit. Attendance was estimated at 2,000 people. The supplies of 800 pumpkins for decorating and 200 kits for birdhouse-making were both fully utilized. New features – “Elvis” (Bret Wiggins) and a pie-eating contest – were hits too. And $800 was donated to help with future festivals.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse conference room (9131 California SW).

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle Raging Bulls make it to state quarterfinals

Thanks to James Ross for sending the report and photo!

Congratulations to the West Seattle Raging Bulls boys soccer team for winning the South Sound United League (SSUL) U12 group to advance to the quarter-finals of the Washington State Youth Soccer Recreational Cup! The Raging Bulls outmatched five of the best clubs from South King and Pierce counties and now will represent the South Puget Sound district (District 3) for the State title.

The Raging Bulls held on in a thrilling match against another team competing in the West Seattle Soccer Club, the West Seattle Spurs. I believe the WS Spurs also advance to the State tournament, which is a true testament to the outstanding local talent and coaches we are lucky to have in WSSC!!

The WYSA Recreational Cup State Tournament championship weekend will be held December 1-2 at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. We are very proud of our team and look forward to bringing the State title back to West Seattle!

P.S. – This is the second team Coach Eric has brought to the Recreational Cup. His WS Red Bulls team (featuring two older brothers of players on his current team) won the State Championship in 2015!

The WS Raging Bulls consist of:

Brady Murphy
Caden Ross
Cody Buehring
Grant Williams
Jack Madden
Landon Pugh
Lane Anderson
Luca Gomez
Luke Brown
Nick Beardemphl
Nolan Polaski
Owen Christianson
Ryan Typpi
Will Furman

Head Coach Eric Beardemphl
Assistant Coach Matt Pugh
Assistant Coach Justin Buehring

Good Luck to them in the next round!!

HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Middle Schools Information Night

5th grader in the house? You want to be here. Until 8 pm, the first-ever Greater West Seattle Middle Schools Information Night (co-sponsored by WSB) is on. It’s happening in the gym at Our Lady of Guadalupe‘s Walmesley Center (northeast corner of 35th and Myrtle), open-house style but also featuring a presentation at 6:30 pm with information you can use about getting ready for middle school, no matter where your future 6th grader is going.

(If you ARE still school-shopping, 10 area middle schools have reps here who will be happy to talk to you!) Everybody in the family’s welcome.

FOLLOWUP: Police contract approved in 8-1 City Council vote

4:53 PM: 24 hours after the mayor and police chief came to West Seattle to in essence campaign for council approval of the Seattle Police contract, the vote has just happened at City Hall downtown. The contract required seven council “yes” votes to pass and got eight, with Councilmember Kshama Sawant the lone “no” vote. West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold voted yes despite a number of concerns, explaining that – among other reasons – she has told constituents that she supports police staffing to address public-safety concerns, and didn’t see how that would reconcile with a “no” vote given the expectation that contract rejection would make SPD hiring even more difficult than it’s been lately. M

ADDED 9:31 PM: The Seattle Channel video from this afternoon’s meeting is available now, and we’ve embedded it at the top of this story. Also, we talked briefly with Councilmember Herbold after an unrelated community meeting we covered tonight. Asked to comment on her voting decision, she reiterated what she had said during the meeting – both that she felt she had to be consistent with her three years of telling constituents she supported increased police staffing, and also that she knew she let some people down, too. She said that when alternatives she was exploring turned out to be unworkable, she felt she had to vote “yes.”

Modernization of West Seattle’s Terminal 5 ‘one step closer’ with budget/capital plan vote today

(Terminal 5 photo from portseattle.org)

Though a tenant has yet to be announced, the modernization plan for Terminal 5 in West Seattle is moving forward. The Northwest Seaport Alliance – the partnership of the Seattle and Tacoma ports – approved a 2019 budget today, and T-5 plans factor heavily into the announcement, which mentions “final negotiations with a potential tenant”:

At today’s special dual meeting, the Managing Members of The Northwest Seaport Alliance adopted a budget for 2019 as well as a five-year capital investment plan. The budget and investment plan allow for terminal modernization to accommodate larger vessels and retain a competitive position in the global marketplace. The budget also includes environmental and business development investments.

“With the adoption of this budget, we are sending a clear message to the industry and our communities that The Northwest Seaport Alliance is working,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA. “It allows us to make transformative investments in our harbors so we are competitive in the global marketplace, attracting jobs and retaining the economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest.”

“Now in its third year, The Northwest Seaport Alliance remains strong,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission vice president and co-chair of the NWSA. “Our partnership with the Port of Seattle is good not only for our local communities but for manufacturers and farmers across the nation. This budget ensures the alliance will continue to benefit our region well into the future.”

Planned capital improvements take the NWSA one step closer to transforming Seattle’s Terminal 5 into a premier international container facility on the West Coast. The Managing Members passed a motion authorizing CEO John Wolfe to prepare a lease, bidding documents and a request for construction funds for the necessary upgrades. Final negotiations with a potential tenant are currently underway.

Improvements to T-5 will include dock and power upgrades and berth deepening to handle the world’s largest cargo ships. Currently, T-5 can handle vessels with a capacity of up to 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), but shipping lines are now investing in vessels with 18,000 TEU capacity or greater. Once complete, T-5 will have a capacity of a 3 million TEUs annually.

Modernizations at T-5 bring environmental benefits as well, allowing creosote-treated wooden piles to be replaced with a panelized fender system and increasing the electrical capacity of the terminal for quieter, cleaner operations.

A negotiated lease and a request to initiate construction are expected to come to the Managing Members for approval in the first quarter of 2019.

Port reps had previously said that news of a T-5 tenant was likely before this year was out (most recently, when Seattle Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins spoke to the WS Chamber of Commerce two months ago). More than four years have passed since the last cargo-line tenant left T-5. Meantime, you can see the draft 2019 budget by going here. (We’re still reading through it for the financing specifics.)

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 10:03 AM: NWSA says its estimate of T-5 volume was an error and so we have added a strikethrough above – they’ve removed it from their release, which you can see in its entirety here.

CLOSURE ALERT: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ to be closed for two hours tonight

Just in from SDOT:

For 2 hours tonight, starting at 7 PM, the Spokane St Bridge (West Seattle Lower Bridge) and the bike trail will be closed, so crews can replace a power control cable. A shuttle van will be available both directions, to take interested travelers over the high bridge.

What you can expect:
During this project, barrels and barricades as well as message boards, will direct traffic. After cable replacement and successful bridge testing, the bridge will reopen to traffic.

November 13: 7 – 9 PM

Impacts –

· Spokane St Bridge (aka Lower W Seattle Bridge) closed.
· W Seattle Bridge Trail closed.

Assistance – A shuttle van will travel back and forth over W Seattle High Bridge, in 15-minute intervals, with the following stops:

· East Side – 11th Ave SW & SW Spokane St.
· West side – SW Spokane St and Port of Seattle Terminal 5 Entrance.

Shuttle service is scheduled to run during the duration of the outage. Should this maintenance work experience unexpected challenges, the shuttle will run all night, as needed.

8 for your West Seattle Tuesday

(Spotted sandpiper, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Lots going on in the hours ahead! Among the highlights:

DROP-IN CHESS: For kids/teens, 4:30-5:30 pm at High Point Library. All skill levels welcome! (3411 SW Raymond)

WEST SEATTLE MIDDLE SCHOOLS INFORMATION NIGHT: 6-8 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe – information on middle schools all over the area, plus a presentation at 6:30 pm that will be of interest to future middle schoolers’ families even if you aren’t school shopping. Admission free. (35th/Myrtle)

HOPE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6:30 pm, preschool through 8th grade Hope Lutheran School in The Junction invites you to tour the campus and meet the staff. (42nd/Oregon)

FAIRMOUNT PARK ELEMENTARY PTA: General membership meeting, 6:30 pm at the school. (3800 SW Findlay)

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: All are welcome to hear a presentation on our state’s new high-school graduation requirements, during tonight’s Chief Sealth International High School PTSA meeting. (2600 SW Thistle)

SOUTH DELRIDGE COMMUNITY GROUP: Last meeting of the year, 7 pm at 2 Fingers Social. Come talk about the neighborhood’s present and the group’s future! (9211 Delridge Way SW)

FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: 7 pm FCA board meeting at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, public welcome. Agenda includes ferry, crime, development updates, and other topics. (9131 California SW)

FLY-TYING: 7 pm at Emerald Water Anglers (WSB sponsor) – check fast to see if there’s still room; our calendar listing explains how. (42nd/Oregon)

MORE FOR TONIGHT AND BEYOND! Just check our complete calendar and Holiday Guide.