TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates & alerts

October 6, 2015 at 6:28 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | No Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
No incidents of interest to our area, so far.

ROAD WORK ALERT: The city says it’s continuing work at the intersection of 21st Ave SW and SW Genesee St on Pigeon Point (as seen here on Friday) and that the intersection “will be closed to southbound traffic” for a few more days “while crews install new sidewalk and curb ramps. A signed detour will be in effect to direct southbound traffic around the work: From 21st Ave SW travel east on SW Charlestown St to 20th Ave SW; then travel south on 20th Ave SW to SW Genesee St. … Crews have also begun surveying the area where 22nd Ave SW merges into 21st Ave SW. As part of the greenway project, we will install a new sidewalk, pavement and curb ramp.” This is part of the Delridge/Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway project.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Published here on Monday, here’s first word of a big project that will affect one mile of Delridge Way next year – the complete replacement of the streetlight system between Myrtle and Henderson, plus a lighting upgrade for the SW Holden stairway.

Remembering little Drue: Neighbors’ tribute in Morgan Junction

October 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

As they had promised in the note published here this morning, neighbors created a sidewalk-side memorial tonight for 17-month-old Drue Lehto, who died eight days ago of internal injuries that police say his father’s girlfriend confessed to causing by kicking him. They told us other community members had stopped by to add small tributes – stuffed animals, candles, flowers. It’s in a tree well along the sidewalk in the 6500 block of California SW, just south of the Morgan Junction apartment building where Drue died; you are welcome to add to it, they said. Meantime, the accused killer remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail; we’ll likely hear from prosecutors tomorrow about charges.

Seen from West Seattle: ’12′ shines from downtown skyline

October 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm | In West Seattle news, WS & Sports | No Comments

For the first nighttime home game of the Seahawks’ season, the big bright “12″ was back downtown. We photographed it shortly after Seattle’s 13-10 win over the Detroit Lions. This was the Seahawks’ only scheduled Monday Night Football appearance this year; they’re set for a Sunday Night Football home game on November 15th, hosting the Cardinals.

9:49 PM P.S. Via Twitter, we learn Zillow is now the largest tenant in the building.

FOLLOWUP: Crash victim’s mother asks for help finding hit-run driver

October 5, 2015 at 8:13 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Family photo, taken the day Alex left Harborview)
That’s Alex, who survived a crash on Fauntleroy Way north of Lincoln Park four weeks ago. His mother Katie e-mailed to say that investigators are still looking for the driver who left the scene:

On 9/8/15 around 9:30 pm my son was involved in a hit-and-run accident on Fauntleroy and Othello. He was admittedly going over the speed limit when a white truck pulled out in front of him, cutting him off. The driver of the truck then stopped in the middle of my son’s lane, causing my son to hit the back driver’s side quarter panel. The impact threw him off his motorcycle and into two parked cars. The motorcycle slid for quite a ways in the middle of Fauntleroy. The driver of the truck then backed up, looked at my son, and then drove off … leaving my son screaming in pain, asking for help.

Click to read the rest of FOLLOWUP: Crash victim’s mother asks for help finding hit-run driver…

CONGRATULATIONS! National honors for Chief Sealth International High School Academy of Business

October 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

Congratulations to Chief Sealth International High School for again being recognized as having one of the nation’s top career/vocational business academies. From Gary Perkins, who also shared the photos:

For the third consecutive year, the Academy of Business, which includes both the Academy of Finance and Academy of Hospitality & Tourism programs, was awarded “Model Status” by the National Academy Foundation, an award given to only a select number of business academies across the country. NAF is a leader in the movement to prepare young people for college and career success and operates in more than 650 academies across the 50 states. For over 30 years, NAF has refined a proven educational model which included industry-focused curricula, work-based learning opportunities through summer internships and job shadows, and a relationship model that connects the classroom to the workplace.

There are only five NAF academies in the entire state of Washington, with two of those located here at Chief Sealth Int’l. Over the past five years, the graduation rate for the Academy of Business has exceeded 99% and over 95% of those that graduate have gone on to college or post-secondary education.

In the pictures are juniors and seniors from the Academy of Finance and Academy of Hospitality & Tourism. Also included are Gary Perkins (Academy Coordinator/Instructor) and Jenny Austad (Academy Instructor). You can find out more about the program by E-mailing Gary Perkins at

What do orcas and ants have in common? Find out when The Whale Trail’s new Orca Talk series begins

October 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm | In West Seattle news, Wildlife | No Comments

That photo by Araya Casey Photography is one of several shared with us after orcas swam past West Seattle on Sunday (see others here). If you’re among our area’s many orca fans, you will want to hurry up and get your ticket for the October 13th event that will lead off The Whale Trail‘s new Orca Talk season, with world-renowned author and orca expert Erich Hoyt speaking October 13th at The Hall at Fauntleroy. His talk titled “Ants, Orcas and Creatures of the Deep” is one of three stops in the region on Hoyt’s “Orca Tour 2015.” Wondering what in the world ants and orcas could have in common? Don’t miss the chance to find out – you can get your ticket right now through Brown Paper Tickets. (When Hoyt spoke here two years ago, he filled the house!)

Big Seattle City Light project on the way for Delridge: Mile-long streetlight-system replacement, plus stairway lighting

October 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

(Part of the stretch of Delridge where the upgrading will happen)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Another big city project is headed this way.

We got first word of this while talking with one of the many city department reps who came to West Seattle on Saturday for the mayor-led Find It, Fix It walk in Delridge (WSB coverage here). It isn’t in the area on which the walk focused, but it’s in an area where many people will be affected by the work as well as by its results. Here’s what’s up:

Next year, Seattle City Light plans to replace and upgrade the Delridge Way SW streetlights and their infrastructure between SW Myrtle and SW Henderson. That’s a 1.1-mile-long stretch (see it on this map).

The Delridge Way SW Streetlight Infrastructure Upgrade Project entails much more than changing to LEDs (which won’t happen on other West Seattle arterials until 2017) – SCL says the light installations themselves have issues with wiring, grounding, and even siting/spacing, so the entire streetlight system along that stretch is being redesigned and replaced.

Along with new streetlights along Delridge, the project also will include lighting improvements on the SW Holden stairway between Delridge and 20th SW, the focus of safety concerns after robberies earlier in the year (yes, this is the same stairway where goats did some cleanup work last spring).

And, SCL says, some power-cable work will be done in areas where “injection” repair work failed.

Here’s the city overview of the type of work that’s expected to happen during this project:

City Light contractors will be trenching within the right-of-way. They will work within planting strips whenever possible, but will be demolishing sidewalks in some locations. New sidewalks and curb cuts will be installed as necessary and trenching across streets will be required in some areas. Sections of sidewalk will be closed while work is taking place. Roadways may be redirected for short periods of time when trenching across streets is taking place. Residents will be notified if driveways will be blocked.

SCL says the work is not expected to require or cause power outages.

The full scope of the project is still being planned, with its design not expected to be complete until March of next year, and bidding to follow in April; construction is expected to happen June 2016-January 2017. We’re checking on the estimated cost, as the SCL budget proposal for next year doesn’t list this (or other) specific projects.

YOU CAN HELP! What Chief Sealth IHS’s Clothing Closet needs

October 5, 2015 at 11:02 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

New and “gently used” items would be greatly appreciated by students in need at Chief Sealth IHS – here’s how to help:

The Clothing Closet is open and looking for donations!

Chief Sealth International High School PTSA — along with CSIHS staff and Key Club — coordinates the Clothing Closet, where students in need can get clothing, school supplies, and toiletries at no cost. The Clothing Closet relies on donations to keep its shelves stocked.

Here are some things that we’re currently in need of:

new men’s and women’s athletic and dress socks
new men’s underwear — preferably stretchy boxer briefs of all sizes
new women’s underwear – preferably cotton bikinis of all sizes
gently used athletic shorts — all sizes
gently used sweatpants, athletic-style pants, yoga pants, and leggings — all sizes
gently used men’s belts — casual and dress

You can drop off donations at the collection box in the Main Office. We’ll also have a collection box outside the Clothing Closet during the Open House on October 8. For more information, please contact Lisa Conley with PTSA at or 206-938-1947.

The school is at 2600 SW Thistle.

West Seattle Monday: School boundaries; ‘Booktoberfest’; more…

October 5, 2015 at 10:03 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | No Comments

(Alki photo by Michael Zaton)

Looks like one more day of the endlessly blue sky and sea. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for today/tonight:

DROP-IN HOMEWORK HELP: 4-7 pm, Homework Help volunteers are available at High Point Library, for K-12 students. (35th SW and SW Raymond)

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOUNDARIES/STUDENT ASSIGNMENT PLAN MEETING: No big boundary changes in the current West Seattle plan, but the ones that are in the works for next year – explained in our preview – are the subject of a meeting tonight, 6:30 pm, at Schmitz Park Elementary. (5000 SW Spokane)

WEST SEATTLE HI-YU: 7 pm at Admiral Congregational Church, it’s the monthly meeting for West Seattle Hi-Yu, which is currently inviting youth to apply for its new Ambassador Program. Come to the meeting to see how you can help with anything and everything Hi-Yu is up to. (California SW & SW Hill)

‘BOOKTOBERFEST’ AT SKYLARK: 7:30 pm, match wits with librarians, who are going around the city this month for special events like this round of “bookish and library-themed trivia” at The Skylark. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE … by browsing our complete calendar.

Neighbors plan memorial for toddler killed in Morgan Junction

October 5, 2015 at 8:59 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Two followups this morning in the case of 17-month-old Drue Lehto (family photo at right, republished with permission), who died eight days ago in a Morgan Junction apartment, with his father’s 20-year-old girlfriend in jail for investigation of homicide:

First, neighbors invite you to join them tonight in an informal memorial. Alexa told us via e-mail, “There will be a few of us neighbors setting out a small memorial for baby Drue, the baby killed last week, (tonight) at 8:30 by the building [6533 California SW]. Just some flowers, candles, and stuffed toys, no formal event, but others are welcome to come join to pay their respects or stop by the next day to add to the memorial.”

Also, Drue’s aunt Samantha shares word of this crowdfunding page raising money for funeral expenses.

In the criminal case, meantime, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has until tomorrow to file charges against the suspect, who, according to court documents, had lived for about half a year with Drue, his father, and her own toddler from an earlier relationship. She remains in King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday updates & alerts, with football tonight

October 5, 2015 at 6:41 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 2 Comments

(Three WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:41 AM: Good morning! So far this morning, no incidents in West Seattle or on the major outbound routes from here. Big story later will be Monday Night Football, with the Seahawks hosting Detroit, 5:30 pm kickoff at CenturyLink Field. The West Seattle Water Taxi will have extended evening service, with the last run from downtown set to leave at 10:30 pm.

10:32 AM – WEEKEND PREVIEW ADDED: Quiet morning so far. But alerts for the week ahead will likely be emerging – like this one from WSDOT, of note if you use I-90:

Westbound traffic between Bellevue Way and Rainier Avenue South will be reduced to one lane and detoured to the I-90 express lanes from 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12. Drivers heading to Mercer Island must exit westbound I-90 at East Mercer Way. There are no westbound exits to Mercer Island from the express lanes.

Since it’s westbound, it won’t cause an I-5 backup like the earlier eastbound work did, but still something you’ll want to know about if you’re crossing the lake over the weekend.

West Seattle weekend scene: St. John’s ‘Blessing of the Animals’

October 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | In Pets, West Seattle news, West Seattle religion | 1 Comment

(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
Every year, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral invites pets and their people to an open, public “Blessing of the Animals” event, a tradition for many churches in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and today was the day. St. John’s new priest-in-charge Rev. Michael Carroccino and Brother Paul Dahlke from the Order of Saint Francis were in the neighboring West Seattle High School parking lot for all who showed up.

Most of the pets brought for blessings were dogs … but we also spotted Olive the cat:

As explained on the event flyer, “Today we thank God for the gifts of companionship and beauty which animals and pets bring to our lives and homes, and ask God’s blessing on them.”

Blessings are usually offered this time each fall as it coincides with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals:

At least two other West Seattle congregations offered Blessing of the Animals events today; another is still ahead, next Sunday (October 11th) at 10:30 am at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Gatewood (thanks to Sue for the tip).

West Seattle weekend scene: On their feet to fight hunger

October 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news | No Comments

(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
If you weren’t part of today’s CROP Hunger Walk – you might have seen those who were, with red shirts and signs, on a 3-mile route along Alki this afternoon.

The walk calls attention to the struggle many around the world have in obtaining drinkable water as well as getting enough food to stave off hunger. As one walker explained, the distance of the walk – 3 miles – signifies how far many people around the world have to walk to obtain drinkable (or any) water each day.

The West Seattle walk was one of two in the city today, with pledges helping people in need globally as well as locally; you can donate to the cause here.

UPDATE: Attic fire at house in 5200 block 45th SW ruled accidental

October 4, 2015 at 6:24 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

(Photo courtesy Robert Ferguson)

6:24 PM:Seattle Fire is responding to a reported house fire in the 5200 block of 45th SW.

6:37 PM: SFD says this is an attic fire and that everyone got out of the house OK, no injuries reported so far.

MONDAY MORNING: SFD finally ended “fire watch” at the house, 12 hours after the fire broke out – the online 911 log showed units at the scene, rotating every few hours as is done if there’s concern about flareups, until early this morning. We’ll be checking on investigators’ official ruling of the cause. Meantime, see the comment section for a discussion of this house’s unusual history.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl with SFD says this fire has been ruled an accident – sparked by work on the house’s roof. Damage to the house is estimated at $50,000, and $20,000 to its contents.

PHOTOS: Orca sightings off West Seattle

October 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 9 Comments

(ADDED: Photo by Paul Brannan - orca off Fauntleroy)

5:43 PM: Caller says a few orcas are southbound – playfully, not speedily – off Constellation Park south of Alki Point right now. Might be “transients,” which Orca Network says have been in the central Sound today. Let us know if you see them!

7:46 PM: Adding a photo – thanks, Paul!

8:25 PM: And thanks to Araya Casey Photography for sharing these images:

The photos were taken in the Alki area.

What’s next for Terminal 5? Find out @ Southwest District Council

October 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm | In Southwest District Council, West Seattle news | No Comments

(Empty Terminal 5 as seen during the port’s community tour last month; photo by Karen Berge)

Now that Shell has suspended its offshore-drilling plans for Alaska, what’s in the future for Terminal 5 in West Seattle, which was planned to be the Shell fleet’s offseason homeport? Will the turn of events affect the Port of Seattle‘s T-5 modernization plan? Find out firsthand at next Wednesday’s Southwest District Council meeting, where a port rep is on the agenda to brief the SWDC. The agenda also includes a discussion of Seattle Proposition 1 – the $930 million “Move Seattle” levy on the November ballot – and a presentation about the West Seattle Timebank. All are welcome at the meeting; SWDC members are reps of community councils and organizations around western West Seattle. The meeting’s at 6:30 pm Wednesday (October 7th) at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center of West Seattle), southeast corner of California SW & SW Oregon in The Junction.

West Seattle sighting: Neil Young visits Pizzeria 22

October 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 16 Comments

The photo is from Pizzeria 22 proprietor Cary Kemp, who reports a celebrity customer on Saturday night:

It was an honor to host Neil Young, his family, band, and crew last night at Pizzeria 22. Looking forward to his performance tonight at the WaMu Theater.

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: We asked Cary if there was a particular reason the music legend chose his restaurant. His reply explains it: “I worked for Neil for 10 years as a tour manager.”

NEXT SUNDAY: Fauntleroy Fall Festival 2015! See the schedule now

October 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm | In Fauntleroy, West Seattle festivals, West Seattle news | No Comments

(WSB photo from 2014 Fauntleroy Fall Festival)

One week from today, you’re invited to spend Sunday afternoon, October 11th, at the Fauntleroy Fall Festival, three hours full of fun for all ages. As usual, the venues are in and around the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, Hall at Fauntleroy, and Fauntleroy Church/YMCA, 9131 and 9140 California SW. Here’s the official schedule, forwarded by Judy Pickens:

See it here as a PDF.

P.S. If you’re interested in contributing a cake to the Cake Walk – go here to see how that works. And if you haven’t been to the FFF before – check out WSB coverage from last year.

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle’s Chuck Diesel Invitational raises $26,000 for youth golf

October 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, WS & Sports | No Comments

If you missed this year’s Chuck Diesel Invitational Golf Tournament – two weeks ago at the West Seattle Golf Course – you’ll want to plan to get on the list for next year. It’s a benefit for The First Tee of Greater Seattle, whose mission is to “impact the lives of young people from all backgrounds by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.” This year’s CDI raised more than $26,000 for The First Tee, more than double last year’s haul, and the money’s going to help build a citywide clubhouse for TFT, in particular its “Crooked Club Room.” Thanks to TFT’s volunteer director Shelby Lanting for sharing the shoutout (including the photo) for the CDI crew, Charlie Anderson and friends, who have been teeing up this fundraiser since 2006.

Playground plea for Westcrest Park: Please don’t take the toys!

October 4, 2015 at 10:44 am | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 15 Comments

This reader report is from Vanessa, whose daughter plays at Westcrest Park:

Recently kids in Highland Park have started donating riding toys to the playground at Westcrest. Everyone here loves Ercolini with all the riding toys, and the new playground and trails are a perfect place to ride.

Unfortunately most of the toys have been stolen from the playground. Everything has been clearly marked “donated to Westcrest playground.” There are a few toys that are still there but the thieves have taken a big wheel, a tricycle, and a push car. The kids that are donating these toys are also frequent visitors to the park and one mother shared how her girls were upset to go back and see that the toys they put there to share with their neighbors had been stolen.

Maybe you could share this story in Crime Watch or somewhere. I know that there isn’t actually a crime here but it’s still a bummer to see this happening.

That’s Vanessa’s daughter in the photo, taken last weekend, featuring a donated toy that’s since disappeared.

West Seattle Sunday: Art, music, shopping, walking, pet blessings …

October 4, 2015 at 7:51 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 2 Comments

(Golden fall color at Lincoln Park – photo by Larry Buckley)

Happy sunny Sunday! From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, fall freshness abounds. (California SW, between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)

FREE COMPOST! 11 am-2 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club – you dig, you haul, up to half a yard per household. (12th SW and SW Holden)

ANNIVERSARY SALE: 11 am-5 pm, it’s the second and final day of the anniversary “garage sale” at Second Gear Sports (WSB sponsor), as previewed here. (6529 California SW)

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: At least three planned in West Seattle today – bring your animal companion(s) and/or photo(s):

11:30 am – Peace Lutheran Church, per sign outside. (39th SW & SW Thistle)
1 pm – St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church @ WSHS parking lot next door – details in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)
1 pm – Pigott Chapel at Providence Mount St. Vincent (4831 35th SW)

CROP WALK: Join the walk along Alki Beach to raise money and awareness in the fight against hunger, as previewed here. 1 pm start from Alki UCC. (6115 SW Hinds)

SOUTHWEST LIBRARY COMMUNITY ART SHOW RECEPTION: 2-4 pm, meet the artists whose work is on display for the 24th annual community art show at Southwest Library. Coffee and dessert, too. (35th SW and SW Henderson)

IRISH SONGS OF MISCHIEF AND SORROW: 3 pm concert presented by Music Northwest at Olympic Hall on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Ticket and RSVP info here. (6000 16th SW)

MORE, OF COURSE … on our complete calendar.

Heard but not found: Mystery boom in South Delridge/White Center

October 4, 2015 at 12:51 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 11 Comments

So far, police haven’t found the source of something very loud within the past 15 minutes or so in South Delridge or White Center. Via the scanner, we heard an SPD dispatcher say reports were coming in from the King County side of the line too, but no word of anything definitive, no reports of any injuries, so we might never find out – just thought we’d mention it for the “others heard it too” files, if nothing else.

ELECTION 2015 UPDATES: One-month countdown begins

October 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 6 Comments

The general election is November 3rd – exactly one month away – with ballots going into the mail in a week and a half. Two notes tonight:


Both finalists, Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold, were at the city’s “Find It, Fix It” walk on Saturday morning:

At one point in the introductory speeches, it sounded as if Mayor Murray was inviting both to come up to the podium – but they stayed in the crowd. Saturday night, both were due to participate in the Inspire Seattle candidates’ forum at a private residence in West Seattle. If you weren’t there, don’t fret – at least four more chances to see them side by side:

-This Tuesday (October 6th), 6:30 pm at Fauntleroy UCC Church (9140 California SW), presented by the Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters

-Tuesday, October 13th, 6:15 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and WS Transportation Coalition

-Wednesday, October 14th, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), presented by the 34th District Democrats

-Thursday, October 15th, time TBA, High Point Library (35th SW & SW Raymond)


If you’re not registered – this Monday (October 5th) is the deadline to get it done online. Just go here.

High-school football: Chief Sealth Seahawks’ first win of the season

October 3, 2015 at 11:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 1 Comment

Thanks to Mel for reporting the score from Memorial Stadium tonight – Chief Sealth International High School over Franklin, 7-6. According to @SealthAthletics tweets, Daron Camacho scored the TD, Baxter Knannlein kicked the extra point. Next Friday night at 7, Sealth is home at Southwest Athletic Complex vs. Ingraham.

VIDEO: Delridge ‘Find It, Fix It’ walk sees mayor, big city contingent considering concerns from safety to drainage

October 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 11 Comments

Story, photos, video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Successes, challenges, even tragedy took turns in the spotlight as Mayor Ed Murray and a strike force of city staffers descended on North Delridge today for their 12th Find It, Fix It Community Walk, first one in West Seattle.

This was no “drop in and we’ll wander around” event. It was meticulously planned for months, with a community committee involved in planning the route and who would speak where and when. An audio system was carted from stop to stop, and speeches – by community members as well as the mayor and staffers – took up about a third of the hour and a half it actually lasted. With so much planned, it was far more thorough than the last mayoral walking tour we recall in the area, by Murray’s predecessor Mike McGinn five years ago, though part of the route was the same.

We’ll begin at the beginning:

At the starting point, the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 school at 5950 Delridge Way SW, the mayor was introduced by Neighborhood District Coordinator Kerry Wade, who spent months working with community volunteers to ensure this happened without a hitch. With a podium, PA system, and the full crowd, speeches ensued, starting with the mayor explaining what the walks are about:

He introduced the many department heads who were along for the walk:

From left, Seattle Public Utilities’ Ray Hoffman, Seattle City Light’s acting GM Jim Baggs, SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best, Department of Neighborhoods’ Kathy Nyland, SDOT’s Scott Kubly, Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre, budget director Ben Noble, Department of Finance and Administrative Services’ Fred Podesta. Also taking a turn at the podium, City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen:

The school was also the official first stop on the walk, highlighting the success story of its new crosswalk, installed just before this school year began:

Ironically, as community member Craig Rankin pointed out – having been deeply involved in making it happen (as reported here in March 2014) – it wouldn’t be where it is if the city had had its way:

After he spoke, it was off to the next stop, with residents Michelle Whelan and Maketa Wilborn pointing out one of the many places where the Delridge area – mostly a narrow valley, the “dell” between the “ridges” – has drainage challenges:

Using a tablet, they showed the mayor and SPU director Hoffman some images of problems in the past, and pointed out that nearby slopes are slated for development, wondering just how much worse things will get because of that, if something’s not done.

Stop number 3, as the group headed north, was a piece of city-owned property that will remain greenspace thanks to a community organization’s efforts to keep it from being sold off.

That’s Willard Brown from the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, which – as reported here recently – will be using grant money and donations to buy one of City Light’s surplus substation sites; here’s the aerial look from SCL’s website.

During the Find It, Fix It walk, Brown spoke about how preserving the greenspace will benefit students from the nearby school:

But some “fixing” is still needed here, he noted, adding his voice to those clamoring for drainage and water-routing improvements in the area. Turning west, the group crossed Delridge Way, and stopped by the planting strip on the south side of the Super 24 store, where, as previewed here last week, the Nature Consortium had a cleanup project under way:

(You might recall some controversy over that planting strip – which previously had been part of a small perpendicular-parking area, and then, when converted, was overpaved, leading to the creation of the beds that were weeded today.) NC executive director Merica Whitehall spoke here during today’s event:

She told the mayor and participants about her organization’s work with the community and with the West Duwamish Greenbelt, in tandem with thousands of volunteers every year:

The alley leading toward Delridge Library was the next segment of the route:

While walking northbound in the alley, community advocate Pete Spalding (above right) talked about neighbors’ watchfulness and the principle “if you see something, say something.” The mayor also heard from library manager Jane Appling, whose staffers and clients have to deal with what happens in the alley, too, and with North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Michael Taylor-Judd (below left):

(At right in the photo above is city traffic engineer Dongho Chang, seen at many a local project meeting.) Concerns related to the alley, besides its overall condition, continue to range from vandalism to drug use; the mayor mentioned the ongoing work to hire more officers for SPD, as well as rampant problems attributed to the nation’s “drug epidemic.” Finding needles and syringes was a problem also mentioned by Delridge P-Patch volunteers, who spoke at the next stop:

They also spoke of successes including their Giving Garden – growing food-bank donations – and how they were able to convert some young area troublemakers into garden volunteers. Some of the walkers moved on through the garden, still beautifully in bloom for fall …

… while some stopped for treats, including the mayor:

Food was the focus at the next stop, the space reserved on the ground floor of Cottage Grove Commons for the Delridge Grocery Co-op‘s future permanent home:

DGC volunteers met the visitors and talked about their years of work to get a store open to help make Delridge less of a “food desert.” This week, they announced to their 400+ members that they had been told “informally” that DGC would be declined for a loan it had hoped would bring a big boost toward opening – but they vow to push on and find financing some other way. This stop was a rare chance, by the way, to look inside their future space at 5444 Delridge Way SW – mouse over our Instagram clip to play a :15 clip panning around inside:

In the courtyard of Cottage Grove Commons, those who hadn’t straggled off along the way heard about the building – open now for almost two years as housing for people who were previously homeless – and that one of residents and managers’ biggest concerns is nearby traffic and safely crossing the street. This is where tragedy was mentioned – the death of a CGC resident hit by a car in November of last year. This next clip also includes the mayor’s closing remarks:

With his promise to return, the first West Seattle “Find It, Fix It” walk wrapped up after about an hour and 20 minutes – a visit that had been months in the making.

Perhaps one of the most important exchanges was back at the P-Patch, where the garden volunteers said they didn’t know how to ask for help with some of their problems – where to go in city government. The mayor said for one, speaking up at the event was the same as asking for help. For two, he said, his staff is working on ways for people to navigate the tangle of city departments and services more easily. Sometimes it might seem like departments are in silos – but a sighting along the way was a reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way:

Staffers from multiple departments – including the firefighter in our photo – carried grabbers and bright yellow bags, picking up trash and debris as they walked in the Saturday sunshine.

P.S. Both candidates for West Seattle’s new District 1 City Council seat were there too; photos to come, in a separate report looking ahead to Election Day, now exactly one month away.

P.P.S. Lots of side conversations – we’ll be adding notes about the ones we hear of, like this mention from Sanislo Elementary, whose reps brought up the illegal dumping that’s a chronic problem nearby.

UPDATE: Fire at vacant Westwood house; firefighter injured

October 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 18 Comments

(Added: Photo courtesy Conrad)
2:51 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed to a possible house fire in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW, which is in Westwood (map). More to come.

(Smoke was visible for blocks – photo courtesy Sebastian, looking SW over Westwood Village)
2:55 PM UPDATE: It’s a confirmed fire and SFD units have water on it.

(WSB photos from here down)
3 PM UPDATE: Now reported to be under control. One possible injury.

3:07 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, SFD describes the house as “vacant.” That’s borne out by this DPD record for the address that SFD has logged for the fire – a complaint made and investigated less than a month ago.

3:20 PM UPDATE: Nobody hurt, we’ve confirmed with SFD. Fire investigators are en route to look into the cause. The fire is mostly out except for some smoldering in the walls. Neighbors tell us it’s been a problem house for a year or so.

3:35 PM UPDATE: Update – we’ve since been told a firefighter suffered a hand injury and has been taken to the hospital.

5:58 PM UPDATE: As mentioned in comments, fire and police investigators have been there; we went back over for photos.

Still no official word on the cause, but the police presence confirms they are investigating the possibility of arson.

MONDAY UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl from SFD says investigators determined that this fire was “set,” and so Seattle Police are investigating. Damage to the house is estimated at $100,000, and $5,000 to its contents.

BIZNOTES: TouchTech Systems turns 8; Curves WS followup; Thunder Road Guitars update

October 3, 2015 at 1:41 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | No Comments

Three more biznotes to share:

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, TOUCHTECH SYSTEMS: Brian Presser, proprietor of TouchTech Systems in the breezeway at 4517 California SW, sends word that this week marks his eighth anniversary in West Seattle. The business itself has been around even longer: “The technology has changed since we opened our doors in 1994, but our commitment to you hasn’t. Our job is to take the guesswork out of technology so we can outfit your home or business with the hardware, software and peripherals that meet your budget and exceed your expectations.” They serve clients of all types, from home to commercial.

CURVES FOLLOWUP: Our Friday biznotes mentioned the Curves West Seattle location at 3280 California SW had emptied out. Today its former owners contacted us to share this message:

After 13 years, Curves of West Seattle closed last week. We actively searched for a buyer for several months but were not successful. We both live in Olympia now and the commute finally took its toll.

We thank our hundreds of members who have been part of the Curves journey. You are amazing women! White Center Curves is open for those interested. We wish all health and happiness.

Denise Hanson
Stuart Meadows

THUNDER ROADS CLOSED TOMORROW: From Frank Gross, proprietor of Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor) in The Junction:

We will be closed tomorrow, Sunday, October 4th, as we will be attending the Sea-Tac Vintage Guitar Show (with a large portion of our inventory). We will re-open Tuesday at 10 am.

TRG is at 4736 California SW.

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