Even with our every-weekday-morning traffic watches, we somehow managed to miss the alerts about this weekend’s eastbound I-90 closure – explained by WSDOT here:
The resulting backup/slow going from the eastbound bridge to northbound I-5 to (and on) eastbound I-90 caught us by surprise as we headed out to Bellevue to cover the Seattle Lutheran HS boys’ basketball postseason game. All vehicles are routed onto the express lanes, and that added 15+ minutes until the logjam broke just past the Mount Baker Tunnel. So in short: Eastbound I-90 is not completely closed, but it’s constricted for the weekend, and you’ll want to allow extra time.
P.S. And remember one more alert we HAVE shared a few times – 6-11 am Sunday, Highway 99 is closed at the Battery Street Tunnel and northward because of the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K
The Fairmount Park Elementary PTA is hosting an online auction as a followup to its recent “live” auction. You can support FPES students via any of more than a hundred items – among them, getaways for destinations such as Alderbrook Resort and Stevens Pass, unique items such as a Little Free Library or a 3-hour photo-booth rental, and/or theme baskets put together by classrooms, including “Family of Scientists,” “Northwest Craft Beer Sampler,” and “Jaunt in the Junctions.” The online auction is open until 9 pm next Friday night (March 6th) – go here to browse and bid.
(WSB photo of Troop 45165 cookie-sellers Primavera, Maddy, and Shea at West Seattle Thriftway [WSB sponsor] on Friday)
Buying Girl Scout Cookies is one of many things you can do in West Seattle today – use the online cookie-finder lookup to see where and when. Here’s what else is going on:
RESTORE THE FOREST: Join South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) students in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, 9:30 am-2 pm, as previewed here, including information on meet-up location on the north side of the SSC campus. (6000 16th SW)
PINE LAKE CELLARS WINE TASTING: New WSB sponsor Pine Lake Cellars invites you to its tasting room, noon-5 pm today. (3400 Harbor SW)
HIGH-SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS: Both local high-school basketball teams that are still going in the postseason have games today/tonight, as first reported here last weekend: The Seattle Lutheran HS boys play Yakama Nation Tribal School at Bellevue College (map/address) at 2 pm; the West Seattle HS girls play Sumner HS at Renton High School (map/address) at 8 pm.
(added) LOVE SEAFOOD? 4-7 pm at Alki Masonic Center, fundraiser for WSHS/Sealth student-awards program – crab, clams, mussels, chowder, fixins for $30. (40th/Edmunds)
(back to original) COMMUNITY MOVIE NIGHT IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Go watch “Wreck It Ralph” at Arbor Heights Community Church, 6 pm, only price of admission is three cans of food for the White Center Food Bank. Full details here. (10213 41st SW)
RONNY COX AND FRIENDS: He gained fame as an actor but now spends most of his time making music, and will be onstage at Kenyon Hall, 7:30 pm tonight with keyboard and fiddle friends – details here. (7904 35th SW)
TOM PRICE DESERT CLASSIC: Heading up a three-band slate, 9 pm, $5 cover, at the Benbow Room. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
KIRK DUBB AT THE FEEDBACK: 10 pm, live at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), no cover. (6451 California SW)
UPDATE: Man hospitalized after fire on 44th SW in The Junction; investigators blame ‘dried Christmas tree’February 28, 2015 at 3:14 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 27 Comments
(UPDATED 10:15 AM with SFD announcement of fire’s cause)
(Added: Photo texted by Amanda L.)
3:14 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to what’s described as a house near 44th/Genesee (map) on the north end of The Junction, and first units on site are reporting flames. There’s also word someone is hurt. More to come.
(This photo and next by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:32 AM: We’re at the scene. The fire is under control, according to an update monitored via scanner. Very smoky here, and 44th SW is full of emergency vehicles starting immediately north of SW Oregon. Commenters who live nearby are saying they heard an explosion type of sound right before the fire. More firefighters are continuing to arrive, some pulling up just south of Oregon.
3:44 AM: For those asking, we’ve confirmed it’s the address on the SFD log, 4411 44th SW. It’s a multi-family, two-story building (update: property records describe it as a 4-plex).
3:50 AM: No word yet on the condition of the person who was being checked out, nor on the cause. But Lt. Sue Stangl is here as public-information officer and so we’ll be able to get a briefing before too long.
(On-scene command center; photo by Diakonda Gurning)
The fire marshal (investigator) is en route.
4:00 AM: Lt. Stangl tells us smoke/fire was visible from three of the four sides of the building when firefighters first arrived. The man who was hurt has been taken to Harborview Medical Center, with burns and smoke inhalation; he told SFD he was the only person inside when the fire started. We’ll add video of her briefing when we’re back at HQ shortly (update: it’s below):
She says firefighters have no information yet on what might have caused the reported “boom.”
4:25 AM: Some of the responding units are being dismissed as the operation winds down. People evacuated from a building immediately behind this one will be allowed back in. We’ve added a photo atop the story, texted by Amanda L. (thank you!), showing the flames.
4:55 AM: Still investigating, per the photo tweet below from SFD:
Fire investigators work to determine cause of West Sea house fire that sent 1 man to HMC in critical condition. pic.twitter.com/o1naQLRtnX
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) February 28, 2015
10:15 AM: Via Twitter, an update from SFD: “Early morning WS house fire determined accidental. $150K loss to structure, $10K loss to contents. Dried Xmas tree too close to fireplace.” We just went by for a daylight look:
As mentioned here a week ago, SDOT director Scott Kubly told the City Council Transportation Committee that the 47th/Admiral signal was on the brink of construction – and now, a city alert says construction could be just days away:
As soon as the week of March 9, the Seattle Department of Transportation will begin construction of the project to build a new signal, crosswalks and updated curb ramps at the intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way in West Seattle.
This project aims to improve the flow of traffic in this area and you can expect to see the following changes at this intersection:
(WSB photo from 2013: Mural over The Admiral’s concession area)
After many months of uncertainly, finally a breakthrough for West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater. The company that runs it has announced “an agreement in principle” with the building’s owner, clearing the path to its much-needed, long-anticipated remodel, which will turn it into a fourplex.
Though The Admiral’s announcement (read it in full here) says the “planned improvements (will) begin this fall,” it also notes “an immediate conversion from 35mm film to state-of-the-art digital cinema and Dolby Surround Sound.” That will be followed by “phased=in revisions of the interior floor plan, adding two auditoriums (with elevated stadium seating), all-new chairs with cup holders, new carpeting and curtains, new screens (including 3D capability), and improved heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Additional improvements will also be evident in the restrooms, concessions area and upstairs Crow’s Nest Lounge.”
The Admiral is a city landmark with protected features, and Jeff Brein, managing partner of Far Away Entertainment – the Bainbridge-based regional chain that has run The Admiral since 2008 – says the plan recognizes that: “The existing architectural features, nautical theme, original artwork of captains and explorers, and unique lighting fixtures will be retained. Additionally, and perhaps most exciting, hand-painted historic murals hidden behind curtains for over 35 years will be uncovered and with financial support from grants and the community restored to their original condition.”
The Admiral will continue to work with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which worked to save the historic theater more than a quarter-century ago. And it expects to stay open “with minimal disruptions to moviegoers” during the work, which management hopes will lead to phased-in openings as soon as this August.
The theater started moving to first-run films with the successful premiere run of “Interstellar“ four months ago. That followed a long-running concern about a “ticking clock” as they waited for the now-secured longterm commitment so they could proceed with renovations, including an upgrade to digital projection.
P.S. We’ve asked for renderings of the Admiral’s future; not available yet, but soon, we’re told. For its almost-century-long backstory – dating back to its opening in 1919 as the Portola – check this 2013 story by SWSHS executive director Clay Eals.
ADDED 7:42 PM: Thanks to Clay for the tip on the customized marquee at the theater tonight, announcing the news – we went over to photograph it:
We also just heard back on one of our followup questions, to clarify the timeline: “The finished project should be done by end of summer, but one theater (actually 2) will be done before that. Also, digital projectors will be in by the end of March.”
The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Dolphins Swim Team has 20 swimmers, ranging in age from 6 to 18, in the 2015 Pacific Region North YMCA Swimming Championships in Boise. They’ll be swimming in the 2-1/2 day competition starting tonight, competing against 29 teams from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to Carl Baber for sharing the photo and info, including:
The West Seattle Y Team offers open enrollment, swim instruction, and competition throughout the year (except for August). Swimmers are assigned to one of six groups based on ability. Each group is designed to assist swimmers to improve swimming skills, learn the values of sportsmanship and cooperation as a team member, experience competition, make friends, and have fun. These 20 swimmers have successfully achieved qualifying times and are now striving for personal bests and medals, so good luck to all of our Y Dolphin swimmers!
(WSB photo taken on northeast corner of 35th/Roxbury)
If you’ve noticed the police activity at Westwood Village and/or the 35th/Roxbury bus stop – here’s what’s happening: Police have arrested at least one suspect in a case of shoplifting-turned-robbery at the Westwood Target. Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler says it was first reported as juveniles stealing liquor from the store, and one “sprayed” a security guard (that’s apparently why Seattle Fire medics were called to the scene). The police search included buses in the area and several possible suspects turned up on one at 35th/Roxbury; while we were talking to Det. Fowler, he confirmed a witness had positively identified at least one suspect. That’s all we know so far; more if and when we get it.
First, the crime trends, presented by Community Police Team Officer Erin Nicholson:
If you don’t have time for the clip, three notes:
Followup on a traffic alert mentioned in our daily transportation watch: It started with a tip from Erika, after a sign went up on Roxbury warning of lane closures all next week, and led us to both the city and county transportation departments to get details. We finally have the full explanation from KCDOT: 200 feet of underground fiber-optic installation starting next Monday “will require the closure of one southbound through lane on 15th Avenue SW north of Roxbury and a northbound left turn lane on 15th Avenue SW at Roxbury. Work is planned 9 am to 3 pm weekdays March 2 through March 6.” That’s in addition to other installation work in White Center that’s not likely to affect traffic that much; those details are on our partner site White Center Now.
Last weekend, we featured David Hutchinson‘s video of a river otter, now nicknamed “Otto,” who’s been in view lately on the Duwamish Head beaches. David – who is a Seal Sitters volunteer as well as an awesome photographer – says, “Quite a few passersby have stopped by for a look, and Otto is probably the most photographed wild river otter in Seattle.”
But there’s some sad news from the otter world, too. David and wife Eilene Hutchinson learned from a neighbor that an otter was “in the street near Salty’s. Eilene & I went down to take a look and found an otter dead in the southbound lane. On examination, this proved not to be Otto, who has a small growth on his left rear foot. We moved the otter off the roadway and contacted the city for removal.” He says it’s the second one they’ve seen in about two months, and so we’re reminding you again to watch for wildlife crossing along Harbor/Alki Avenues – river otters, for example, have inland dens, but go out into the bay to look for food, so they cross the road more often than you’d think. P.S. Thanks to David for also reminding us that you can learn more about river otters on the state Fish and Wildlife Department website.
Chief Sealth IHS launching WA Global Issues Network conference, to ‘bring youth together to share ideas for taking action’February 27, 2015 at 10:30 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments
After four successful years of World Water Week, Chief Sealth International High School is launching a new globally focused event this year instead, and it’s one week away. Here’s the official announcement:
Nearly 200 students and teachers from the Seattle area and participants from around the country will come together on March 6th and 7th at Chief Sealth International High School for the inaugural Washington State Global Issues Network (WAGIN) Conference. The aim of the conference is to bring youth together to share ideas for taking action on critical global issues. This year’s conference slogan is, “Our Future Is Now.” Most workshop sessions during the two-day conference are youth-led. The conference will also feature seven keynote speakers:
● Christina Orbe is the Executive Director and co-founder of FEEST (Food, Empowerment, Education Sustainability Team).
● Molly Freed is a Chief Sealth IHS graduate and is currently a senior at Scripps College. She created the school-wide local ideas festival, World Water Week, which has attracted national attention.
● Chris Jordan is a world-renowned artist and activist best known for his large-scale works depicting mass consumption and waste.
● Spencer Chumbley is a Washington DC-based producer and cinematographer whose work covering critical global issues has been featured by VICE on HBO, Al Jazeera America, and TIME.
● John Delaney is a member of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative and is leading a team building an underwater network of cameras and sensors that will turn our ocean into a global interactive lab.
● Amy Benson is the co-founder of Nonfiction Media, a production company based in Seattle. She has created more than 25 films. She most recently directed and produced Drawing the Tiger, a film about the power of educating young women in developing countries.
● Maketa Wilborn is a national organizational development consultant, trainer and educator. He will push the conference attendees to find ways to sustain their action projects.
Leading up to the conference, all 1,200 Chief Sealth International students will participate in a synchronous, lesson on global climate change on Wednesday, March 4th. All students will then attend an assembly with the group Protect our Winters on Thursday, March 5th. On Friday, March 6th, all CSIHS students will attend an assembly with conference speaker, Chris Jordan.
The WAGIN conference is organized by Chief Sealth International High School students Aisaya Corbray and Paloma Robertson, along with teacher and mentor Noah Zeichner. This core planning team has collaborated with a dedicated group of more than 20 Chief Sealth students and teachers. The conference is made possible through partnerships with several organizations and agencies including the Global Issues Network (GIN), Seattle Public Schools, the Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS), World Affairs Council, Global Visionaries, OSPI, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, King County EcoConsumer Program, IREX, and the U.S. Department of State.
(American Wigeon, photographed by Mark Wangerin, who says your best bet of seeing one locally is the High Point retention pond)
The weekend is within reach! Here are the highlights for today/tonight, as we edge ever closer:
WEST SEATTLE GARDEN CLUB: 10 am-2 pm, it’s the monthly meeting at Daystar Retirement Village, with the day’s schedule described in our calendar listing, including a morning presentation on becoming a Master Gardener and an afternoon presentation on roses. (2615 SW Barton)
GIRL SCOUT COOKIES: As previewed here earlier this week, this afternoon marks the start of the official cookie-selling season – you’ll find Girl Scouts outside more than a few local businesses as early as 2 pm today (our preview link includes the search tool you can use to find cookie sales near you).
JUMPIN’ JIVE SWING DANCE: 6 pm tonight, it’s the Madison Middle School benefit that’ll get you up and dancing – details in our recent preview. Featuring student musicians AND the West Seattle Big Band; in the Commons. (45th/Spokane)
MOVIE ON THE WALL: 6 pm, free movie for families at the Salvation Army Community Center, “Dolphin Tale 2,” in the small gym. (9050 16th SW)
RAINBOW BINGO, MARDI GRAS EDITION: Doors open at the Senior Center of West Seattle and treats are available at 6, entertainment at 6:30, bingo at 7. Check to see if any reservations are left! Details in our calendar listing. (Oregon/California)
SECOND AND FINAL WEEKEND FOR ‘GODSPELL’: West Seattle-based Twelfth Night Productions is back with this timeless musical
(Photo courtesy Twelfth Night Productions)
Curtain time is 7:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
AND THERE’S MORE … for today, tonight, and days/weeks/months beyond, on our calendar.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning; watch for major puddles this morning after the all-night rainfall. Looking ahead to the weekend and beyond:
METRO FARE CHANGES SUNDAY: Explained here.
SUNDAY MORNING 99 CLOSURE: Just north of downtown, for the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K – details here.
Road work reminders, continuing/starting next week:
DELRIDGE/ANDOVER: Monday is the newest start date for this work to boost safety at the north end of Delridge.
LANE CLOSURE ON ROXBURY EAST OF 16TH: Thanks to Erika for spotting the sign warning of a lane closure on Roxbury next Monday-Friday. By day’s end yesterday, we had heard back from SDOT, saying it’s a county permit issued for a fiber contractor, and we’re still tracking details of which lane(s) and when.
7:41 AM: Traffic alert for an aid call at 24th/Thistle, near Chief Sealth International High School. One SFD engine. No details so far.
7:57 AM: That call has closed. No current trouble spots around our area.
8:11 AM: And that has changed – thanks to the person who just called (thank you! 206-293-6302 any time, text or voice) to report a car stalled in the bus lane on Avalon Way.
Myers Parcels = Myers Park? Campaign to preserve as open space/parkland intensifies, as city prepares ‘sale strategy’February 26, 2015 at 9:45 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 4 Comments
(Click image to see city map of Myers Parcels as a full-size PDF)
The community campaign to preserve an open-space area in the southeasternmost corner of West Seattle is ramping up and drawing new attention to the so-called “Myers Parcels” (map). A widely circulated announcement of an upcoming meeting describes the land south of the Joint Training Facility as possibly “the last large, undeveloped piece of property that could become a major park in Seattle.” The original announcement of the campaign last September was reported here; word of the new effort, including an organizational meeting, led us to check on the parcels’ current status.
First: We noticed that the Department of Planning and Development files for the site suggested Seattle Public Utilities was evaluating it as recently as last fall for possible relocation of its Wastewater and Drainage operations center. But when we checked with SPU on Wednesday, spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin told us the department is no longer considering using the site. So we moved on to the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which has responsibility for the site now. Spokesperson Julie Moore replied with background plus the status, and what’s expected to happen next:
The property was originally a gravel pit. At the time of purchase in 2003, the City intended to develop a portion as the Joint Training Facility and sell the remainder. The purchase was funded, in part, with a bridge loan for which the City now owes about $13 million. In 2006, the Seattle City Council, by ordinance 122308, declared 31 acres of the properties surplus and authorized a sale to Lowe’s, but that deal fell through. The sale transaction was not completed due to environmental and permitting issues. The subsequent downturn in the economy made a sale uneconomic.
As the recession eased, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) obtained environmental studies to carefully document environmental assets such as wetlands and natural steep slopes.
In 2012, FAS circulated an excess property notice to City departments, and some have evaluated the site for potential City use, but have generally found it to be inappropriate for their operational purposes. FAS is now considering options for selling the undeveloped portion while preserving environmentally sensitive areas. The property is zoned for commercial uses, and sale proceeds will likely be enough to repay the $13 million bridge loan. FAS expects to make a recommendation on a sale strategy this year.
The 2012 “excess property notice” – see it here – includes that year’s total assessed value of the parcels, listed as $38 million.
Meantime, once FAS makes its recommendation, what happens? Moore’s explanation:
As with all property dispositions, FAS’s Real Estate Services (RES) follows the Seattle City Council-adopted policies and procedures for the review process. Once the process is complete, RES issues a final report, which includes RES’ recommendation regarding the property (typically to either retain the property for use by another City department or sell it), and presents it to the Mayor for review. If the Mayor concurs with the recommendation, the Mayor sends the report to the City Council, along with legislation authorizing the reuse or sale of the property. Only the City Council can make the final decision on reuse or disposition of City-owned real property. If the Council approves the recommendation for selling a property, the property is declared “surplus” and a sale proceeds.
You might recall that part of the site was on the list of potential city-jail locations back in 2008; ultimately, the city decided it didn’t need a new jail, and the entire plan was scrapped.
Back to the community campaign to keep the site as open space – here’s the meeting announcement:
You are invited to come to the first-ever gathering of SAVE MYERS PARK, on Saturday, March 14th, 10-noon, at the offices of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, 210 S. Hudson. Call or email Cass to confirm and for questions. 206-783-9093. Or email email@example.com
The announcement, which you can read in full as posted to the WSB Facebook page if you haven’t seen it elsewhere, also suggests that messages be sent to the mayor and City Council.
The Fauntleroy Children’s Center, headquartered in the historic schoolhouse, is nine days away from its annual fundraiser, and hoping to get a final attendance count within a few days – so it’s circulating a reminder that tickets are available online. The dinner/auction is at 5:30 pm Saturday, March 7th, on the other side of the schoolhouse at The Hall at Fauntleroy, $65/person. The theme is “An Evening in Paris” and you can read more about it here.
By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog/White Center Now co-publishers
More than the donuts, it turns out, Mardi Gras is all about the beignets.
That’s what proprietor Michael Williams (“call me Mike”) told us.
The donuts are a sideline to the beignets (ben-YAYS, as he pronounces it in his New Orleans accent – “New Orleans born and raised,” he says proudly).
He’s been open a few days at 9828 16th SW (a storefront that’s been a bakery before). Signage just went up yesterday. No decorations inside, and when we walked in, we wondered if he would tell us he’s not really open yet. But oh, he is.
His marquee item, the beignets, are 3 for $2.25. He says he’s making and selling other types of donuts because, well, that’s expected – cakes, glazed, honey buns, apple fritters, twists, donut holes.
He’s here as what sounds to be the latest stop on a cross-country journey of sorts. He worked in a donut shop in New Orleans that gained fame via a Food Network feature in 2011. Later that year in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, he opened his first Mardi Gras Donuts shop, featured in local news there.
Deciding to make a move, Williams said he almost wound up in Fargo, North Dakota, where he owned some property. The prospect of deep-freeze winter was a little much. Talking to a wholesaler, he heard Seattle didn’t have much in the way of beignets. So here he is.
6 am-8 pm for starters (Williams says he’s still figuring out the hours depending on how the customer flow goes), and during the morning, they’ll make hot glazed donuts while you wait. Cash only, by the way.
We missed our customary morning chance to look ahead to what’s on the calendar – but it’s not too late to mention five events of potential interest:
DINE AND DANCE: Dance for Joy is presenting a dinner, lessons, and dancing event tonight at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). Salmon dinner at 6, lessons at 7, dancing at 8. Reservations required – info’s on the Salty’s website. (1936 Harbor SW)
HIGHLAND PARK KINDERGARTEN NIGHT: 6:30 pm, prospective Highland Park Elementary kindergarten families are invited to dinner and a tour tonight at the school. (1012 SW Trenton)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center. Agenda’s centerpiece:
Special guest Paulo Nunes-Ueno, the newly hired leader of our city’s new Transit Division within SDOT. We will discuss a variety of topics with him, including:
1. How the new money from the city Proposition 1 will impact West Seattle and South Park.
2. Plans that SDOT’s Transit Division has in mind and in the works to benefit our area.
3. Ideas that can be implemented to increase our local bus performance, including the idea for a dedicated bus-only lane all the way from the Junction to the West Seattle Bridge.
4. What will be the role of City District 1 in having a seat on the Proposition oversight commission, which was required by law in the Proposition 1 measure we passed.
All welcome. (6400 Sylvan Way)
CHARTER SCHOOL INFORMATION: Curious about the plan for West Seattle’s first charter school, first reported here in early January and updated in mid-January? 6:30 pm at Southwest Branch Library, its prospective operators, Summit Public Schools, have a public info session, as reported here. (35th/Henderson)
West Seattle development notes today include this demolition work:
TEARDOWN TO … ? That 1911-built house has just been torn down at 37th/Hinds; thanks to Diane for the tip.
What’s on file online with the city mentions both demolition and “additions and alterations to existing single family residence including attached garage,” rather than a teardown/rebuild, so we’re not sure exactly what’s going to follow.
OTHER DEMOLITION NOTES: A permit is granted for tearing down a duplex at 5917 Fauntleroy Way SW, one of two neighboring sites with rowhouses ahead … a permit application is in to demolish a house and commercial building at 4038 California SW, where the city notes say 7 units are planned, two of them live-works.
DESIGN REVIEW NOTICES: We’ve already published word of both of these reviews scheduled for March 19th, but in case you missed it, the formal notices are in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin:
****CVS drugstore project: This is filed at two addresses, 4722 Fauntleroy Way for the building and 4721 38th SW for additional parking, and both reviews will be held at 6:30 pm March 19th at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (Our most-recent story is here.)
— NOAA Fisheries NWFSC (@NOAAFish_NWFSC) February 26, 2015
Announced this morning – the third calf born to Puget Sound’s resident orcas in the past two months! First came the two babies born to J Pod – we learned about J50 in late December, and then two weeks ago J51 was spotted; and today, NOAA Fisheries announces a baby seen with L Pod as its scientists tracked the whales off the seacoast. “The calf looked very energetic,” NOAA’s Brad Hanson reported.
While whale experts warn that mortality rates are high even in the best of times, this is nonetheless yet another sign of hope for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. As noted when we covered one of The Whale Trail‘s orca talks here in West Seattle last fall, the resident pods previously hadn’t seen a birth in two years, and that calf did not survive.
The Highway 99 tunnel machine is back on the move, according to WSDOT. It’s protruding further into the repair pit as it moves forward; WSDOT says five more tunnel rings have to be built behind it before it stops short of the north side of the pit. What happens after that is described in today’s update on the Highway 99 project website. You can get the newest view by clicking the camera at center-left on this page (that’s where the image at left is from).
(WSB photo of Murray CSO Control Project pit, from last week)
You’ll see a Seattle Fire Department presence on Saturday at the Murray CSO Control Project site – the million-gallon-tank pit across from Lowman Beach – but it’s just a drill. We mentioned this briefly last weekend, and now have more information, as promised by Doug Marsano from King County, who writes:
The Seattle Fire Department will practice safety drills at the Murray CSO Control Project site from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 28. The drills provide training for fire personnel to practice emergency procedures on construction sites. They are not part of the project work.
The drills are being conducted in cooperation with King County’s contractor. You can expect to see fire trucks and emergency personnel working at the site on Saturday.
For information about the Murray CSO Control Project, please contact the project information hotline available 24 hours a day, 206-205-9186, or visit the project web page.
You might recall that two years ago, firefighter trainees practiced at the residential buildings that were demolished to make way for this project – here’s our photo gallery.
Update this morning on traffic effects of the Seattle Public Utilities project at Delridge/Orchard – the next two weeks will see some road closures in addition to ongoing lane closures:
Seattle Public Utilities is continuing sewer improvements along SW Orchard Street between Delridge Way SW and Dumar Way SW. Excavation and installation work is underway and will take several months to complete. Work will occur from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday east of the intersection of Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street.
The work will require the closure of the westbound lane on SW Orchard Street (east of Delridge Way SW). The lane will remain closed Monday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. through the end of April, and will be opened to traffic after non-work hours. During the closure, all westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lane with the assistance of a traffic flagger.
Starting February 26th, and continuing for two weeks, SW Orchard Street between Delridge Way SW and Dumar Way SW will be fully closed to traffic intermittently for 15 minute intervals during work hours to allow for delivery of materials.
If you have something to say about the city’s proposed rule changes regarding encampments for homeless people, tonight’s the night to say it. 5:30 pm at City Hall, the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will listen to comments during an evening meeting devoted entirely to a public hearing on the proposal (here’s the agenda).
The goal of the rule changes as they’re written now – see the legislation here – is to enable up to three encampments, up to 100 residents each, at city- or privately owned sites no closer to each other than a mile.
Since we first reported on the proposal a month ago, it’s been discussed at multiple committee meetings, and at least one more is planned. We listened in on the most-recent one, last Friday. These maps – further clarifying sites that might qualify if the new rules pass (adding overlays such as the mandated human-services and transit-stop distances) – were part of the agenda:
Many of the questions at last Friday’s discussion involved how a proposed encampment would be proposed, reviewed, and approved, including questions such as, what if more than one potential provider wanted to use a specific city-owned site.
There also was discussion of whether other types of property could be made eligible – right now, the proposed rules specify city-owned or privately owned, but, it was asked, what about other government entities, for example? (The West Seattle sites used by the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” had included state- and port-owned sites over the years.) Also asked – if an encampment “is working well,” could the proposal’s one-year limit be modified for a renewal or extension? And one housing organization, LIHI, had sent a letter expressing concern about the proposal ruling out use of parks and parking lots. A city staffer said in response that they expected they wouldn’t have trouble finding “suitable opportunities” among other types of properties.
Whatever other issues arise at tonight’s public hearing – which is for public comment, not a vote – the PLUS committee plans to discuss the proposal again next Tuesday (March 3rd). Meantime, signups for the 5:30 pm hearing will start at 5 pm – here’s the official notice. It’s in the council chambers on the second floor at City Hall, 5th/Cherry/James.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Heading into the heart of the morning commute, no problems reported on West Seattle roads or the major outbound paths.
ROAD WORK: We don’t have a report from the area so far today but Don Brubeck reports work was under way Wednesday on East Marginal Way S, south of Spokane St., “to widen the street to make a short stretch of bike path through the narrow area under the Spokane St Viaduct ramps. Another step in SDOT’s interim traffic safety improvements for East Marginal Way S. Good for people riding bikes from south of Spokane St, and for people on bikes taking the left at the light at Spokane from the WS Bridge trail, where there is now a push button for the light.”
TALKING TRANSIT TONIGHT: West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting is at 6:30 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), with SDOT’s new Transit Division head Paulo Nunes-Ueno.
8:06 AM NOTE: Just took a spin around the “live video” views via the city map (dropdown on the lower right, West Seattle and Greater Duwamish views). Things look to be moving well except for the usual chokepoints (exit lane to 99, exit lane to northbound I-5).
What can you do to try to prevent/deter someone from stealing from you? An informal discussion with SPD was the spotlighted topic as the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met last night at the Southwest Precinct.
Kids 8 and up who are (or might be) interested in robotics are invited to an event 4-5 pm tomorrow afternoon at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library (2306 42nd SW). They still have room, and it’s free, but advance signups are required, so they’re getting the word out one last time tonight. Participants get to program a robot to compete on an obstacle course! The official infopage has the number you can call for registration tomorrow – OR use this e-mail form right now.
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