West Seattle, Washington
FIRST REPORT, 2:02 PM: Just in: Deputy Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe‘s decision on Luna Park Café owner John Bennett‘s appeal of a $500 citation for an A-frame sign. We first reported two weeks ago that he had been cited for the sign, after two warnings to remove it; city rules say business owners can only have such signs adjacent to their business, but his café is half a block away.
The complaint targeted a group of signs at Harbor/Avalon, not just Bennett’s, we learned when he argued his appeal before Watanabe downtown eight days ago (here’s our report). She said she’d have a ruling in a week or so, so we’ve been checking the city website, where it was posted half an hour ago (read the ruling here). Watanabe affirmed the SDOT decision to cite Bennett for the against-the-rules sign, but reduced the penalty from $500 – the fine for using right-of-way without a permit – to $250, the usual sign-citation amount, noting SDOT wasn’t opposed to a reduction, since it was a first-time citation.
Examiner decisions are the final word so far as the city goes; to challenge a ruling like this, you would have to go to court. We’re seeking comment from Bennett and will update.
ADDED 2:32 PM: Bennett tells us via e-mail that he’ll decide next week what to do about it, adding, “I’m a little upset that the sign ordinances are selectively enforced. I also feel small businesses shouldn’t have to pay heavy fines.” (City reps said again in last week’s hearing that enforcement is by complaint – there may be routine rule-breakers out there, but there’s no enforcement unless someone complains, same as a variety of other non-criminal city code situations.)
After almost seven years under its current ownership, Angelina’s in The Admiral District has closed. We went to the restaurant at 2311 California SW to investigate after getting tips from two readers, and got confirmation. West Seattleites Skip and Allison Rich bought Angelina’s from its longtime previous owners in 2009, remodeling it, adding a bar, and removing “Trattoria” from its name before reopening it that fall. Here’s the text of the note that Allison tells WSB they will be posting:
Dear West Seattle,
It is with great sadness that we have closed the doors for good. We could no longer balance our personal lives and the restaurant. We have given all we have to this baby for 7 years and it is time now to start a new chapter in our lives.
We thank each and every one of you for your support throughout the years. We have watched your children grow up and watched lives change in many ways. It was our pleasure serving you! We will miss you more than you will ever know. As you were customers, you were family to us! With every lasagna, chicken parm or Rod’s scramble we served, we did it with all our hearts.
Thank you Admiral District for treating us so well! We will miss you terribly.
All our love and thanks,
Allison and Skip
Their restaurant has been, and still is, up for sale.
In West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon – that’s Susie‘s stolen silver 1996 Honda Civic, plate AYL2446. She says it was taken from 48th/Hinds [map] Wednesday night. As the SPD @getyourcarback tweet says, call 911 if you see it.
P.S. Auto-theft-deterrence advice, courtesy of the King County Sheriff’s Office, is up right now on our partner site White Center Now.
You might not ever have met Susan Melrose – but if you’ve been in West Seattle any length of time, you’ve probably enjoyed the results of her work, maybe without realizing it. She is the executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association – which in addition to being the merchants’ association also deals with events and issues big and small, in and affecting the heart of WS – and it’s just been announced that after almost a decade, she’s leaving WSJA:
It is with great appreciation that the West Seattle Junction Association announces the resignation of Susan Melrose, Executive Director. Susan provided more than 9 years of service to the organization, during which her steadfast leadership and strong sense of community helped the business district to flourish. The West Seattle Junction Association wishes her well in her future endeavors and thanks her for her dedication and guidance.
Susan has lived in West Seattle since 1998 and has brought her passion for the neighborhood into every aspect of her work. Her accomplishments include building Junction Plaza Park, creating the Harvest Festival, producing ten years of West Seattle Summer Fest, defining The Junction’s brand and increasing its reach, contributing to the creation of new public art, and acting as a conduit between The Junction businesses and greater community.
“Working with the community and touching on so many exciting projects has been a tremendous opportunity. West Seattle is a neighborhood of passionate and action-oriented people. I’ve enjoyed learning from the community and will continue to admire the dedication of our neighborhood.” Susan says. “While I am taking a new job, I will continue to enjoy The Junction on my days off!”
Susan will stay with the Junction Association through West Seattle Summer Fest. Her past professional background in environmental conservation will be put to work in her new position as the Director of Operations at Washington Wild.
Having worked with Susan while co-sponsoring many Junction events in the past eight-plus years, including Summer Fest (July 8-10 this year!) and Hometown Holidays, we will miss her, and we wish her much success in her new adventure. (WSB photo at above left, from Summer Fest 2014)
First thing we found out at last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: SDOT has an open house coming up for what it’s now calling the South Lander Street Bridge project. While the project is in SODO, the former “Lander Street Overpass” proposal has long been of interest to West Seattleites traveling on surface streets to/from there, and has been on the WSTC’s priority list for almost two years; it was shelved almost a decade ago, then revived with partial funding in last year’s voter-approved Move Seattle levy. It will go over the railroad tracks on Lander between 1st and 4th (see the map above; click it for a full-size PDF).
The city’s current timeline is for completing design next year (saying the design from a decade ago is outdated), then building the overpass from “early 2018-early 2020.” As the city infopage notes, funding is not finalized – while local and state dollars are available, they’re awaiting word on a federal grant.
The open house is set for 4-6 pm Wednesday, June 8th, at Metropolist in SODO, 2931 1st Ave. South. An “online open house” goes live two days before that.
P.S. Our second report from the WSTC meeting is coming up later today, covering last night’s Q&A with a port executive re: the Terminal 5 Improvements Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (open for your comments until June 21st).
(Pigeon Guillemot, photographed at the Fauntleroy ferry dock by Mark Wangerin)
The calendar quiets as holidays approach, so the preview list for today/tonight is relatively short. Have fun, whatever your plans!
THE GREATEST MOVIES YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF: 1 pm screening at the Senior Center of West Seattle – Humphrey Bogart in “Passage to Marseille.” $1 members, $2 non-members. (California SW/SW Oregon)
JIM NASON: The singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
‘DEATH OF A SALESMAN’: Your third-to-last chance to see ArtsWest Playhouse‘s current production, 7:30 pm curtain tonight. (4711 California SW)
THE PAGAN SOUTH & THIEVES OF EDEN: Live at The Skylark, 9 pm, 21+, $7 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
PREVIEW THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND … by checking out our complete calendar!
Family and friends will gather June 18th to celebrate the life of Rick Lauffer. Here’s the remembrance that’s being shared with the community:
West Seattle resident Erich “Rick” Robert Lauffer passed away on May 8, 2016, following complications from pneumonia.
Rick was born in Lakewood, Ohio, on January 20, 1956, the son of the late Florence B. and Erwin M. Lauffer. He is survived by his life partner of 40 years and wife Lucy Woodworth and beloved son Eli Lauffer. Rick is also survived by his siblings Erwin A. “Stuffy” (Linda Kensicki), Judith Touré (Roy Briere), Peter, Timothy (Kim), his brothers-in-law, Mark (Randi) and Paul (Lisa), and 14 nephews and nieces.
Rick studied art and literature at Western College of Miami University in Ohio, where he and Lucy met. They spent several happy years in Cincinnati, where he worked for Instant Replay Film and Video Productions as a 3D animator.
Rick was a talented artist who expressed his creativity in multiple mediums. Some of his art may be found at his website. There, he wrote, “An artist’s eye transfers to any tool once mastered.”
In 1991, Erich, Lucy, and Eli moved to Seattle. Rick worked as a 3D animator with Pinnacle Post before becoming a freelance artist and later a co-owner with Lucy in their motion graphics business, Lucy Woodworth Design. But his greatest joy came from his family and his role as Eli’s father. He treasured their time together.
Family and friends are welcome to stop in to remember Rick at a memorial celebration of his life on Saturday, June 18th between 2 pm and 4 pm at Duos Lounge, 2940 SW Avalon Way in West Seattle. There will also be a memorial in his hometown of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Saturday, August 6th. Donations in Rick’s memory may be made to NAMI Seattle.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:06 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle. Here’s what you need to know as the holiday weekend approaches:
*No Fauntleroy Expressway seismic-cushion work bridge closures until TUESDAY NIGHT – Friday and Saturday are regular off-nights, and SDOT says they’re skipping Sunday and Monday because of the holiday.
*Metro and the West Seattle Water Taxi will both run Sunday schedules on Memorial Day.
*After less than a week, Washington State Ferries is changing the “process” it implemented to try to speed things up at Fauntleroy. The new plan, starting next Tuesday, is explained here.
8:25 AM: Thanks for the text – trouble on northbound 99; a vehicle is broken down in the northbound Battery Street Tunnel, and that’s causing a backup.
8:55 AM: And another problem on northbound 99:
There is a collision on the Alaskan Way Viaduct in the northbound right shoulder at Seneca St. Use caution. pic.twitter.com/SbVse9qtD4
— seattledot (@seattledot) May 27, 2016
The most delicious fundraiser of the year is now just a yummy memory – the Taste of West Seattle, with dozens of food/beverage providers delighting hundreds of ticketholders, filled The Hall at Fauntleroy on Thursday night – all to help West Seattle Helpline provide emergency assistance to neighbors in need.
From title sponsor Metropolitan Market, Jude and Megan were serving crostini topped with stretched mozzarrella and tomato bruschetta:
Also from Admiral, Mioposto‘s Bobby, Jeremy, Tiah, and Jayme served Tomato-Tonnato Salad:
From The Junction, Dream Dinners West Seattle was there with Kim, Gretchen, and Leslie presenting chipotle shrimp with mango salsa:
More of the deliciousness after the jump: Read More
Thanks to Vicki for the photos – again this year, West Seattle’s Boy Scout Troop 284 has been at Forest Lawn Cemetery (WSB sponsor), getting it ready for Memorial Day, with flags and crosses for veterans’ graves.
As mentioned here earlier this week, you are invited to the annual traditional ceremony on Monday afternoon, 2 pm, at Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW), honoring those who served and are serving, presented by American Legion Post 160 and community partners.
We’ve already reported that the city’s bringing back a “car-free day” street party to West Seattle this year, after a year off, on September 25th. And now we know that, like six previous such days, this one will include a running event. Today we got first word of the Orca Half, explained by its organizers:
Part of the Orca Running family of races, the Orca Half is a half marathon along the shores of West Seattle, starting and finishing on Alki. The race is brand new for 2016 and is being organized in cooperation with Seattle Summer Parkways to encourage people to take advantage of the city’s largest public spaces – the streets! Runners will enjoy the use of traffic-free roads for the first portion of the run on Alki. Registration opens on June 1st.
According to the race website, registration will be limited to 450 people, ages 15 and up, and participants will have to finish the half-marathon within four hours; it starts at 8:30 am and the course will close at 12:30 pm. We haven’t yet found the exact course on the website but we did find this description: “The course is 100% along the West Seattle waterfront, from Alki to Lincoln Park.” (On September 25th, the road closure will be from 63rd/Alki to Don Armeni, and Seattle Summer Parkways will include other events for which SDOT is leading the planning process.)
TOPLINE, 3:37 PM: Sound Transit said the big objections to the draft ST3 25-year proposal involved timelines – such as, West Seattle light rail in 2033. So this afternoon, board members proposed changes that include, as seen in the list below, moving that timetable up by three years:
From earlier, here’s how it unfolded, and what happens next:
FIRST REPORT, 2:37 PM: We’re in the Sound Transit board room on the south side of downtown, with a full house of people interested in the forthcoming Sound Transit 3 ballot measure for a variety of reasons – from journalists to advocates to elected officials and beyond. Public comment’s been under way since shortly after ST board chair King County Executive Dow Constantine convened the meeting (see the agenda here) at 1:30, and has just wrapped up. Much of it has focused on concerns from and related to the east and north sides of the area. This is all leading up to an expected vote one week from today on finalizing an ST3 measure to send to voters in November. You can watch live via the embedded stream above and we will add notes of interest from here on out. First up, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff will talk about how they might “reduce delivery times” (relevant for WS, where light rail is proposed for 2033 arrival, in the ST3 draft) – including talking to communities before making specific proposals, so they know if they’re walking into a minefield. Also: “establish a transparent schedule for … timely decision-making … throw it up on the Web for all to see,” and other process tweaks, such as fast-tracking permits. In the end, Rogoff added, a “culture change” would be needed, overall, to help speed things up.
2:54 PM: Now, a quick update on the ST3 finance plan. It has “additional capacity to accelerate the program you have under consideration,” the board is told. That’s followed by board members from each of five “sub-areas” proposing changes to the overall plan.
First list of changes includes proposing moving West Seattle light rail up to 2030 – three years sooner than the draft plan released in March.
3:13 PM: The proposed changes are “fully affordable” and meet “sub-area equity,” the board is now told. Next step: The board will consider on June 2nd whether to include any or all of these changes in the ST3 plan. Chair Constantine says, “It’s clear to me … that the will of the board is to move forward with these changes,” so he’ll have them written up by that meeting. The final vote on what to send to voters in November, he says, will be on June 23rd. And with that, this discussion is over and the ST board is moving on to other items.
3:37 PM: The meeting has just adjourned, and Sound Transit’s just sent a news release that points us to this summary of the proposed changes. The only other mentions of West Seattle: “The scope of a study of high-capacity transit between West Seattle and Burien would expand to explore potential future service to Renton via Tukwila.”
As A la Mode Pies proprietor Chris Porter puts it, this is a big day/night for him and his growing company. Above, the window wrap is going up right now at their future West Seattle Junction expansion location on SW Alaska just east of California SW, on the ground floor of Junction 47; in honor of that, he’s inviting you to suggest WS-centric names for the “boozy milkshakes” they’ll be offering. (With Husky Deli ice cream!) You might recall hearing about the milkshakes, pies, and more when we first reported last month on Porter’s plan for A la Mode Pies to expand here.
As part of the introduction to this community (which will be its second shop, after Phinney), A la Mode Pies also will be at the sold-out Taste of West Seattle food-and-drink fundraiser tonight in Fauntleroy, benefiting the WS Helpline. Porter himself will be at another event – the Puget Sound Business Journal “Business of Pride” event, at which he says A la Mode Pies will be recognized as one of the 25 largest LGBTQ-owned businesses in the region.
Now – your help needed! Porter is inviting WSB readers to suggest names for the five “boozy milkshakes” that West Seattle A la Mode Pies will offer.
Here’s the criteria:
· Hyper Local – Submissions might be influenced by a West Seattle neighborhood, a popular West Seattle destination, tourist attraction, or local saying. The name could also include something West Seattleites take pride in – like the largest employer, historical reference, or pillar of the community.
· The more whimsical, irreverent, and catchy the better.
· Relates to the ingredients in the shake (see descriptions below). Does the proposed name provide a hint as to what the boozy milkshake might taste like?
· Short-and-Sweet. Ideally, each submission will be no more than 2-3 words, as it needs to fit on a menu.
Here’s a description of each proposed boozy milkshake:
1. Cinnamon Apple – Vanilla Ice Cream, Cinnamon Whiskey, Hard Cider – served with cinnamon & sugar pie fries
2. Grasshopper – Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Vodka, Crème de Menthe – drizzled with chocolate ganache
3. Banana – Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Coffee Liquor, Rum, Fresh Bananas – drizzled with homemade caramel
4. Key Lime – Vanilla Ice Cream, Key Lime Juice, Tequila, Triple Sec – served with crushed graham crackers
5. Blue Hawaiian – Coconut Ice Cream, Fresh Blueberries, Malibu Rum, Crushed Pineapple – topped with toasted coconut
Got one suggestion – or five – or more? Please post in the comment section (if you’re reading this from the home page, either click the headline and scroll down, or click the word comment/s under the headline). Decisions will be made within a week or two. Meantime, Porter hopes to have A la Mode Pies open in The Junction in September.
(June 2015 photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy SWSHS)
Remember that scene at the Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge last year, with hundreds of local students photographed in what Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals dubbed a “group hug,” to commemorate the start of its restoration? Something similar is about to happen for another West Seattle landmark – again on the first Friday in June. This time, it’s West Seattle’s only moviehouse, the Admiral Theater. Hundreds of area students will gather outside the theater at midmorning on June 3rd (one week from tomorrow) for another “group hug,” to be photographed from above, as the theater gets ready to launch its renovation project. No street closure, but things will be a little crowded outside the gas station/mini-mart next door; Eals tells us that’s where they’ll be gathering.
(WSB photo from February)
Speaking of the Admiral’s renovation work, which ultimately will turn it into a fourplex with lots of upgrades to its lovable-but-worn interior, readers have been asking about its status. So we checked with The Admiral’s Dinah Brein, who says the city permit process has had them in a holding pattern. “They are backed up 4-6 weeks. We initially were hoping to start first couple weeks of May, but now they won’t probably review until the end of June. At that point, depending on if they have any questions, comments or concerns that we need to address, we will have to resubmit again for their approval. We are thinking that we should be good to go no later than end of August, which would be good because the movies slow down until mid-October for the holidays.” That’ll be close to a year after the originally hoped-for timetable for getting the work started; the agreement between the theater’s owners and longtime operator Far Away Entertainment was announced early last year.
(2011 aerial of Alki Point Lighthouse and its grounds, by Long Bach Nguyen)
A West Seattle icon is about to reopen for weekend tours. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary sends word that its members will resume leading free tours of Alki Point Lighthouse on Memorial Day weekend – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but most of the rest of the summer, it’ll be Saturdays and Sundays (plus two Monday holidays, Independence Day and Labor Day, which will be the last tour day of the season). Hours are 1 pm-4 pm, with the last group entering the site at 3:40 pm; all ages are welcome, but visitors have to be at least 6 years old to go up to the very top of the lighthouse tower. You’ll find the lighthouse where Alki Avenue SW meets Beach Drive SW; here’s a map. (Questions? email@example.com)
(WSB photo, June 2015)
When Lou Cutler took that last lap around the Pathfinder K-8 field last June, shortly before retiring from his job as the school’s PE teacher, it seemed like the end of his annual Make-A-Wish fundraising runs, joyful occasions in which the entire school community took part. But it turns out the tradition isn’t ending after all – Lou will be back at the school on Pigeon Point on Friday, June 3rd (one week from tomorrow), to do it again! Since this time of year also brings his birthday, he leads a lap for every year he’s been on the planet, and this year it will be the momentous number 65. Lou tells WSB, “Easiest way for me to explain this all is that I am having so much fun, I don’t want the run to end. The spirit is certainly willing and the cause is great, so I’ll be ready!” Maybe a little more walking, a little less running, but all the better for anyone and everyone who wants to join in – all are welcome – just drop by Pathfinder next Friday morning, at or after the scheduled start time of 8:45 am. Make-A-Wish points out that Lou’s run “has raised more than $60,000 — that’s enough to grant 12 wishes to local kids with life-threatening medical conditions!” (Outside the run, he’s been a wish-granting volunteer for more than 20 years.)
P.S. Here’s where you can go to donate specifically in honor of Lou’s run.
Look closely at Don Brubeck‘s photo and you’ll see seven Great Blue Herons fishing on the Duwamish River. Getting ready for some fishing yourself? Or other holiday activities? Before we get to the Memorial Day weekend, here are highlights from the calendar for today/tonight:
FREE KINDERMUSIK: 1 pm at My Three Little Birds (WSB sponsor) in south Morgan Junction, bring the little one(s) for free Kindermusik today! (6959 California SW)
SOUND TRANSIT 3: 1:30 pm at the Sound Transit board room downtown, the ST board will talk about possible changes to the draft ST3 plan, which currently calls for light rail to West Seattle in 2033, before voting on the final ballot measure next week. Here’s the agenda; we plan to be there and will bring you as-it-happens updates on whether any changes are proposed for the West Seattle part of the 25-year plan. (401 S. Jackson)
COMMUNITY CANNABIS CONVERSATION: 2-4 pm, a chat about cannabis, geared toward seniors with questions, as explained in our calendar listing, at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (SW Oregon/California SW)
BETWEEN 11 AND 25? Vote ASAP in the Youth Voice, Youth Choice “participatory budgeting” that the city’s trying out this year! One easy way to do it – go see volunteer Nancy Folsom at Delridge Skatepark, 3:30 pm-5 pm. Details in our report from earlier this week, which has the online-voting link too. (Delridge Way SW/SW Genesee)
TASTE OF WEST SEATTLE: The 11th annual eat-and-drink benefit for West Seattle Helpline tonight is sold out – so this is just a reminder, if you’re among the ticketholders, or if you pass by The Hall at Fauntleroy and wonder what the big crowd is about. It starts with VIP admission at 6 pm, general admission at 6:30 pm. (9131 California SW)
T-5 DRAFT EIS @ TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, with two major agenda items: NW Seaport Alliance deputy CEO Kurt Beckett talks about the Terminal 5 Draft Environmental Impact Statement that’s now awaiting your comments, plus, WSTC board elections – four spots with one candidate each, two spots with no candidates, so they’re looking for people to serve. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
THAT’S JUST THE START … find many more listings for today, tonight, and beyond, on our complete calendar.
Four West Seattle biznotes this morning:
ELITE BJJ TRANSITION COMPLETE: At 5050 Delridge Way SW, the new look is in place and the gym’s new beginning as Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Seattle (WSB sponsor) is under way. During last Sunday’s celebration, we photographed proprietor/coach Sonia Sillan in a brand-new workout space inside the 5,800-square-foot gym:
The website is all new, too – westseattlebjj.com – where you can find out more about the classes that Elite BJJ offers for all ages, all fitness levels, no contracts required.
Also in biznotes today, three anniversaries:
COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE PROJECT TURNS 7: You’re invited to the seventh-anniversary party coming up for the Community Acupuncture Project of West Seattle. 3-5 pm on Saturday, June 4th, music – Sid Law, performing live – and food are planned for the party at the clinic, 4545 44th SW.
SPIRA POWER YOGA TURNS 5: Also on June 4th, Spira Power Yoga in The Admiral District celebrates its fifth anniversary with a day of free classes (8 am, 9:30 am, 4:30 pm per their online schedule) and prize drawings for participants. Spira also has made a video in honor of the occasion, explaining the philosophy of being a “peaceful warrior.”
CUDDLE CLUB TURNS 1: In Morgan Junction, The Cuddle Club has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. And proprietor Lashanna Williams has expanded the business to add massage therapy and energy work, in addition to cuddling, Reiki, meditation, and crystal classes, plus special events. Details are on the recently remodeled Cuddle Club website.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:35 AM: Good morning! As the holiday weekend approaches, previews/updates:
*The west end of the bridge closes for the Fauntleroy Expressway seismic-cushion work again tonight, 9 pm-5 pm, and then the next closure will be Tuesday night (May 31st) – Friday and Saturday are regular off-nights, and SDOT tells us that Sunday and Monday also will see NO work because of the holiday.
*‘Rolling slowdowns’ for movie filming are expected today for one last day on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, 9 am-3 pm.
*As first mentioned here on Wednesday, sewer repairs will mean lane closures along a stretch of 35th SW for about two weeks starting next Tuesday.
*Metro and the West Seattle Water Taxi will both be on Sunday schedules on Memorial Day.
8:38 AM: Thanks to Mike for the tip – police and tow trucks are at the scene of a crash involving a bus in the Delridge triangle, north of Roxbury. It wasn’t on the 911 log, which means no injuries of note.
10:42 AM: Thanks to David for the tip on the Seneca closures that SDOT tweeted about:
Recurring closures at the Seneca St Exit on northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct. Expect delays.
— seattledot (@seattledot) May 26, 2016
Out of the WSB inbox, from Kevin:
I was running this morning and saw a whale just west of Don Armeni park. It was headed westward, slowly. The whale was young/small, but definitely a whale, not a porpoise or something. It was big, just seemingly small for a whale by my estimation. If I had to hazard a guess, 15-20′ long??
Anyhow, wanted to report it given the story last month of the whale off Vashon. The whale spouted, and I watched its back crest out of the water as it surfaced and went back down. Time was 5:20 am.
Reminder: If you see a marine mammal you think is in trouble – be sure to notify the local marine-mammal stranding network, Seal Sitters MMSN, at 206-905-SEAL.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight brought first word of the draft recommendations for what to do with the Myers Way Parcels, 30+ acres of city-owned land on the southeast edge of West Seattle.
The draft was unveiled at tonight’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting by the two city Finance and Administrative Services managers who led a tour of the site two weeks ago, organized by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for community members (WSB coverage here).
During the tour, FAS’s Hillary Hamilton and Michael Ashbrook (left-center and right in the photo above) said they were close to finishing the draft. And now – it’s ready. They came to the HPAC meeting with a one-sheet that’s not available online yet (today’s downtown power outage set them back a bit) – here’s our transcription of the “draft property recommendations”:
The draft recommendation includes a balance of planning for future City needs, financial consideration of the outstanding loans on the property and enhancement or preservation of natural spaces:
*The property immediately south of the JTF (9401 Myers Way S)
This property is proposed to be used for a future expansion of parking and training areas at the JTF. Within 15 years, City will need to relocate city parking uses at the Arrowhead Gardens Apartments. Other training needs, such as driver-safety training and trench safety, have been identified.
*The properties south of Roxbury Street and north of the City Light Right of Way (9501 Myers Way S)
This property is proposed to be sold at fair-market value. It could be sold through a negotiated sale with a developer that supports community needs such as job creation or mixed-use activities. The property could be marketed with the use of a real-estate broker to facilitate a sale for such purposes while assuring appropriate financial compensation to the City.
*The properties south of the Seattle City Light Right of way and east of Myers Way (9600 and 9701 Myers Way S)
FAS will identify a purchaser who will preserve and enhance the natural environment of the property and complete a negotiated sale. Examples may include a land trust foundation that would permit public access for recreation and education, an adventure-park operator that would preserve trees and allow public access, or a commercial developer that would preserve or enhance the natural areas. If a sale is not completed within two years, then the property is proposed to be transferred to the Seattle Parks Department for green space. Parks would consider what level of public access would be suitable through their own processes and budget.
Hamilton noted that this is a big change from only a year or so ago, when “our idea was probably ‘let’s sell everything’,” but they heard community opposition to that.
With affordable housing something the city is very interested in helping create, Hamilton acknowledged questions about why this site wouldn’t be quickly earmarked for that. She explained that the “pink” heart of the site – the part proposed for selling for commercial uses – is the most buildable but not necessarily for housing because of cement-kiln dust contamination left over from fill brought to the site decades ago. The city’s affordable-housing experts “looked really hard” at it, she said, but along with the contamination, it also would require roads, sewers, electricity, and drainage, all of which would cost a lot. Sales of any part of the parcels is instead supposed to generate some income, not drain the city coffers. The new one-sheet includes some financials related to the land – saying it’s appraised at $14 million, and that “potential sales proceeds” would have to go toward:
-$1.3 million “outstanding balance on the loan used to purchase the property” (in 2003)
-$5 million “to pay interfund loan to assist homelessness” (as decreed by Mayor Murray last November)
-$500,000 “to reimburse the Dept. of Finance and Admin. Services for consultants and holding costs”
Elaborating on the greenspace potential in the southernmost section, Hamilton said the intention would be to “save the tree canopy” – and she mentioned that could be achievable in one of several ways, including the newly emerged adventure-park idea that is “newly on the table” (here’s our recent story about it). She summarized, “We see the blue area as somewhere that the trees would always be protected, one way or another.”
Subsequent concerns that came up at the HPAC meeting – which included attendees from the neighboring unincorporated Highline area too – included parts of the property currently being used by homeless campers, and the need for more transit in the area.
The FAS reps stress that the comment period is still open and people are welcome to say whatever they think should be done with the area, as well as what should be done with the money that would be brought in by selling any part of it.
Along with accepting comments in writing, they’re working on an event June 30th at the JTF, likely “an evening meeting where we’re going to talk some more” about the proposal, and listen to community comments. (That idea came up during the aforementioned tour.)
After they’ve gathered comments on these draft recommendations, a final recommendation will be drafted in the form that would have to be approved by the City Council. That, they expect, will happen in midsummer; then the legislation would go to the council for a vote in September, under the projected timeline.
We’ll update this story Thursday when we get digital copies of what was handed out tonight, and any other information/reaction.
7:21 PM: A big emergency response is headed to the 6000 block of High Point Drive for an “assault with weapons” call. We’re headed there to find out more; updates to come.
7:38 PM: Seattle Fire has dispatched a chaplain; indications so far at the scene are that this might be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. SPD described the victim on Twitter as “a teen.”
7:42 PM: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith confirms that, and says the victim did not survive.
8:27 AM THURSDAY: SPD’s Det. Patrick Michaud confirms this morning that police believe the shot was accidentally fired. Final ruling will be up to the Medical Examiner, as always. The victim was a 17-year-old boy.