By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the city’s stack of neighborhood plans, Highland Park and Westwood share one. Last night, the community councils for the neighborhoods shared a meeting.
More than 40 people in attendance as Highland Park Action Committee‘s regular monthly meeting was joined by Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, with the focus on crime fighting and prevention.
If you’re picking up a student at Chief Sealth International High School – where classes are ending for the day – it’ll be more difficult than usual to navigate the parking lot/dropoff zone, where you’ll see police cars, a fire engine, an ambulance, and a tow truck. That’s because of what’s in the photos – a car that somehow wound up on the embankment between the parking lot and the exit driveway alongside the auditorium.
Thanks to the person who texted to let us know about this and shared the top photo; at the scene, police told us the car was driven by a student, who wasn’t hurt, but had passengers who were still being checked.
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
6:09 AM: Thanks for the texts about all the sirens. There’s a “fire in building” callout at 26th/Barton.
6:38 AM: It’s a residential building across from Westwood Village. No injuries reported.
6:52 AM: Some of the units have been dismissed – again, this was a large initial callout just because that is standard operating procedure for a building fire call until crews arrive. Others are leaving now for a separate fire call in High Point.
7:06 AM: No word of the cause yet – fire investigator is still on scene.
7:47 AM: 26th SW is still closed at the scene, though the fire’s been out a while.
8:28 AM: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says that while the home was indeed boarded up – as noted in comments below – the “house and backyard were full of combustible materials.” Though neighbors mention squatters, he says firefighters didn’t find anyone inside when they searched the house. They’re not sure yet how it started; damage is estimated at $55,000.
8:47 AM: SFD will be keeping “fire watch” at the house (which is in the 9200 block of 26th) for a while; Ladder 11 (above) just arrived to help with that.
4:50 PM: SFD published a wrap-up report on its Fireline site, noting that “evidence of transient activity” was found inside the house, which was “released (to its) owner” this afternoon. The cause remains officially listed as “undetermined.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The state Department of Early Learning (DEL) has temporarily suspended the license of a West Seattle in-home day care after the death of a baby this week.
We have been looking into this since a reader asked about a major medical response at a home in Westwood at midday this past Monday; later, two other readers e-mailed to ask about rumors they had heard of a death at a local day care. This afternoon, we confirmed with three local and state agencies that an investigation is under way.
That’s a quick spin around the heart of the Westwood Village Street Fair (WSB sponsor), which continues until 6 pm – still time if you haven’t stopped by yet!
Along with rides and entertainment, you’ll find Westwood businesses – including Massage Envy-West Seattle (WSB sponsor):
The Radio Shack folks told us they’re offering raffle tickets until 4:30 and then big prize drawings at 5. Across the center’s central drive, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) has a table in front of its store:
Proprietors Joni and Kirk Keppler are there – and were handing out (what else would you expect from jewelers?) Ring Pop candy when we stopped by. Free jewelry cleaning, too. Here’s the band/stage schedule; more photos in a moment.
(WSB file photo of mini-train at Westwood Village)
Clouds or sun, the Westwood Village Street Fair is on for tomorrow, and sponsoring WSB this week to get the word out. The fair runs 10 am-6 pm on Saturday; organizers promise “amusement rides for the kids as well as the little train that goes around the center … (also) a couple food trucks and plenty of vendor booths to check out.” Here’s the on-stage event schedule, including bands playing from 1-6 pm:
10:00 AM 24 Hour Fitness – Group -X Class
11:00 AM West Seattle Wellness – Nutritionist
11:30 AM Chico’s – Fashion Show
12:00 Noon West Seattle Wellness – Yoga Instruction
1:00 PM Band #1 Gunn
2:15 PM Band #2 Neal Storme and his Band of Amazing Friends
3:30 PM West Seattle Wellness – Hip Hop Instruction
4:00 PM Band #3 Red Sun Revue
5:00 PM Band #4 F-Holes
Thornton Creek did it – can Roxhill Bog do it too? That’s one of the neighborhood issues on the agenda for today’s featured calendar highlight, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Live/work in any of those neighborhoods? Go check out WWRHAH at 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). See the agenda in our calendar listing, and the calendar itself has many more events for today/tonight, including nightlife!
Busy agenda at last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) meeting – police, transit, and more.
TRANSIT HUB UPDATE/WESTWOOD SAFETY: More progress in a longrunning major issue for WWRHAH – chair Amanda Kay Helmick says Metro is going to make small adjustments to the “wall of buses” stop along the south side of Barton (WSB photo, above, from coverage of December WWRHAH walking tour). First, the 21: Instead of being outbound from 26th/Barton, they’re going to move up to layover and leave from 35th/Roxbury. Helmick said 3-6 pm was the prime time for the “wall.” Helmick said she toured Westwood Village with an SDOT rep who said the 30th/Barton crosswalks would be reinstalled/repainted, as will those at 35th/Henderson, by the library, and 25th/Henderson on the east side of Westwood Village. They also plan crosswalk studies at 25th/Trenton and 29th/Barton. The 26th/Barton RapidRide stop will not get a 3-way stop, she added, but some sort of visibility signage is being evaluated. The bus zone was pushed back as promised, Helmick said, but she thinks it would benefit from a little more distance. Meantime, what if a transit hub were created IN Westwood Village – on the northwest side by the post office? WWRHAH wondered. One attendee brought up the problematic area near McDonald’s on the south side; Helmick said she’s heard that the McDonald’s is going to be remodeled and that will address some of the challenges. She said later that WWRHAH is also wondering if maybe Westwood Village should be included in the pedestrian-retail zone review that is under way at the city level right now.
That’s Jan Hogan, soon to retire from Southwest Branch Library in Westwood (35th/Henderson) after more than a quarter-century! Her library colleague Jane Gibson shared the photo and this note:
Congratulations to Children’s Librarian Jan Hogan on her retirement. Stop by this month and thank Jan for her nearly 26 years of wonderful stories and many happy memories she created at the Southwest Branch Library.
Jane says Jan is leaving in early April.
(1st photo in, from Patricia - thanks!)
2:58 PM: Seattle Fire crews are responding to a report of a car hitting a building in the 9000 block of 25th SW, with a “heavy rescue” response.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:02 PM: It’s a car into the front window of Pet Pros at Westwood Village, according to texters and address cross-reference. No injuries reported so far. Thanks to Patricia for the top photo.
3:12 PM: Our crew is there and confirms nobody hurt. The car has already been backed away, though the sidewalk there is blocked off for cleanup (thanks to the person who texted the photo above this line).
(Another photo added: Jessie shared the view from across 25th SW – thanks!)
Police are still talking with people to determine whether this was a case of hitting the wrong pedal, a medical problem, or something else.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:33 PM: It’s now a cleanup scene – all that broken glass you see above, for examples. Also lots of onlookers, and at least one TV crew. We’re told the store is closed right now (we’ll check back later). In case you were trying to remember (we were), we looked up the date for a somewhat similar incident at the Westwood post office – May of last year.
Progress toward a safer Westwood “transit hub” was one of the updates at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting.
(WSB photo, December 2013)
BUS UPDATE: WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick said she’s “pleased they’re listening to us” – “they” meaning some of the agencies that participated in the walking tour of the Westwood Village/Roxhill Park “transit hub” back on December 30th (WSB coverage here). The first progress comes in the area shown in our photo above – 25th SW along the east side of the shopping center, where, Helmick says, she’s been told some layover zones will be moved. The Sound Transit 560, for example, will move further south next month, closer to the southeast corner of Westwood Village, for a little more distance between it and the driveway shown above. But there’s no word of a change yet for the “Wall of Buses” created by layover zones on Barton, alongside Roxhill Park; Metro said it needed a little more time to figure out if there’s anything they can do, Helmick said. But there will be a 70-foot no-parking zone by the crosswalk – “it’s not going to stop the stacking” but it’ll definitely give everyone a little more space, for starters, she said.
Speaking of Roxhill Park, it was the focus of two other items:
Well-drilling, raingarden-digging for overflow-control project about to start in Sunrise Heights, WestwoodJanuary 27, 2014 at 2:02 am | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments
Three years after King County announced two very different plans for reducing combined-sewer overflows at two West Seattle pump stations, both projects are about to go into the major construction phase.
And now, the Barton basin project – 91 roadside raingardens on 15 blocks in Sunrise Heights and Westwood – has just had two pre-construction meetings. The project map has been updated, showing construction on eight blocks this year, seven blocks next year, and five more blocks in reserve if needed:
Thursday night brought a scene very different from an early project meeting in the same room a few months after the plan was first unveiled.
Pre-construction meetings, survey for Westwood, Sunrise Heights ‘roadside raingardens’ sewer-overflow-control projectJanuary 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments
King County’s next major combined-sewer-overflow-control project, the Barton basin “green stormwater infrastructure” roadside raingardens on 15 streets in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, is close to starting construction. So the county has just announced two pre-construction community meetings:
Join King County at one of two community meetings to prepare the neighborhood for upcoming construction activities. At the meeting, you can:
· Learn more about the construction schedule and sequence of activities
· Meet representatives from the construction contractor, Goodfellow Brothers
· Hear how King County works with neighbors during construction
· Learn about anticipated construction impacts
· Bring the kids! A kids activity table will be set up in the main room both days
Thursday, January 23, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Westside School, 7740 34th Ave SW
Saturday, January 25, 10:00 – 11:30 am, High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW
Checking the project website, we also found this online survey for those in the neighborhoods affected.
(WSB photo from December 30th, alongside ‘Wall of Buses’ by Roxhill Park)
Eight days after leading a tour of the Westwood Village “transit hub” and its challenges (WSB coverage here), a followup discussion will be part of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night, 6:15 pm at Southwest Branch Library. Here’s the agenda just sent by chair Amanda Kay Helmick:
6:15-6:20: Introductions & Community News:
6:20-6:25: Review Bylaws
6:25-6:35: Infrastructure Committee Update: Update from Committee Leader, Chris Stripinis.
6:35-6:50: Metro & Stakeholders December 30th Walk Update: With Amanda Kay Helmick, and Joe Szilagyi
6:50-7:40: Roxhill Park Updates: Updates on efforts to clean up the park; Rehydrating the bog; lighting; Grants
7:40-7:45: Wrap Up: Breakdown the room; library locks up promptly at 8 pm.
The library is at 35th/Henderson; all are welcome.
Now you see the park, now you don’t: Touring the ‘transit hub’ with Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leadersDecember 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, Westwood | 15 Comments
Five years ago, when community members lobbied Metro to make sure RapidRide went all the way to Westwood instead of turning around at Fauntleroy, they didn’t envision what’s become a “wall of buses” alongside Roxhill Park. A new community council has since emerged, and park-safety concerns are high on its list. So today, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders took a group of visiting officials on what you might call a wall-to-wall tour.
It started and ended on the east side of Barton, alongside the park. This tour didn’t go into the park – though some of its challenges were well within view:
Liquor stolen from nearby stores – four places stock it in Westwood alone, plus Safeway on the other side of the park – is often consumed nearby, and the bus wall hides it from scrutiny. So WWRHAH suggests other places buses could lay over:
The tour around the outer perimeter of Westwood Village was led by WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick, above in purple, and secretary Joe Szilagyi, above in gray. Those who came along to see and hear about the situation included not only reps from Metro, but also from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s staff, the County Sheriff’s Office – which is responsible for Metro Transit Police – and Seattle Police, Seattle Parks, even state legislator Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below at left), a frequent transit rider who told his stories of getting around Westwood:
One frequently noted problem, not enough light for people to get around safely at night, including at 25th and Trenton, near the bus holding/bus stop area on the east side of Westwood:
Pedestrian and driver safety is at stake too, with cars exiting onto 25th jutting out to see around the buses and other vehicles there:
At each stop, the WWRHAH leaders offered suggestions, as tour participants took notes. And each area offered its own challenge:
While that stretch along Barton has an official RapidRide area, it was noted that bus passengers also exit much further west along the block, in the layover zone, which is unlit. WWRHAH stressed that they’re not requesting lights for the entire park – but that stretch needs something; our photo below, taken December 4th, shows how dark it can get:
This tour was part of the followup to other exchanges WWRHAH has had with Metro and other agencies that have jurisdiction in the Westwood/Roxhill area; here’s a previous story with a detailed reply to WWRHAH from Metro’s GM Kevin Desmond. The council’s November meeting was centered on park concerns and potential solutions. No specific next steps were announced as this afternoon’s tour ended, but WWRHAH plans to continue pressing for action.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
11:14 PM: Big response for a house-fire call in the 9000 block of 21st SW, near Westwood Village (map) – possibly a fire in the basement. More shortly.
11:29 PM UPDATE: Christopher Boffoli is there for WSB and confirms it’s a basement fire – very smoky, he adds. Via radio, we’ve heard firefighters declare it “tapped.” No injuries reported so far.
11:37 PM UPDATE: Update from Christopher – all the residents got out OK; they’re still doing inventory on pets – he says, “They grabbed their dogs but they say a couple of cats are inside.”
5:25 PM: Police are converging on Westwood Village after a report that the Rite-Aid store was held up by a robber who said he had a gun. The only description mentioned in radio communications so far – “Asian male.” While he gave a worker a note that said he had a gun, no gun was seen.
5:40 PM: No updates on that case yet – our crew at Westwood says officers are searching the area as well as talking to workers in the store. **Meantime** – If you are seeing/hearing the Guardian One helicopter in the area – they also are helping with the investigation of another incident not far away, a break-in reported in the 8800 block of 30th SW (map), reported within this past hour, with the resident coming home to discover a break-in and suspecting the burglar(s) might still have been in the house.
5:56 PM: Back to the Rite-Aid robbery – our crew has just talked to police on scene. They will say only that “merchandise” was taken; they do have a more detailed description of the robber – Asian, male, 20s, 5’4″ to 5’6″, wearing a black jacket. Police are continuing to search neighborhoods in the area. To be clear, we have not heard ANY suggestion that these two cases are related – just happened that they were in the same area, and with the helicopter over here, albeit briefly, we needed to mention the burglary too.
9:23 PM: The SPD Blotter post about the holdup contains one new bit of information – confirming the “merchandise” was drugs, stolen from the pharmacy.
‘We are fed up and we need help’: WWRHAH’s letter to Mayor-elect Murray, following Roxhill Park rape reportDecember 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 43 Comments
We talked with police again today about the Roxhill Park rape report that first emerged in a letter sent by Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School principals to their schools’ families, published here Monday afternoon. The Denny student first reported it to a school employee yesterday, saying it happened in the park around 3:30 last Thursday afternoon; police tell us the report then was given to a school-assigned police officer, and the case then was referred to the SPD Sexual Assault Unit, which hoped to have a detective speak with the victim today. With the investigation still at an early stage, no written report is available yet, we’re told. But here’s one thing in writing: The following letter just sent to Mayor-elect Ed Murray from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, making sure he understands the park’s crime crisis and asking what
As chronicled here previously, West Seattle’s newest community council already had been focused on the park and its challenges – and this just stepped it up further. We’ll let you know what response they receive, and will continue to follow up the investigation as well.
Monica is asking you to be on the lookout for a stolen car – which is linked to a theft report:
Last night, my son was working out at 24 Hour Fitness at Westwood around 10:00. He called us at 10:30 to report that his locker had been broken into and his wallet and keys (and one shoe!) stolen. The thief then stole his car. SPD did arrive and take a report. Please be on the lookout for a 2005 Nissan Altima 4D 2.5, license plate #AIX6123, in the color of light metallic green. My hope is that it has already been ditched somewhere.
As the SPD @getyourcarback auto-theft tweet advises, call 911 if you see it.
SIDE NOTE: That SPD Twitter feed does not mention *where* a car was stolen, not even which part of the city, and the notations that appear on the SPD crime-info map do not link to reports with info about the car, so the only way we can publish details of a stolen vehicle is if we get a reader report, like this one. Not only have those reports led to other readers spotting stolen cars, sometimes a sighting results in even more (update on the suspect in that case is in the works, by the way). We do hope you won’t EVER be hit by crime, but if you are, once it’s been reported to police, consider sharing info here too – email@example.com.
Four weeks ago, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council sent Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond a letter detailing community concerns specific to the expansion of the Roxhill Park/Westwood Village area as a transit hub, some of which were discussed again at this week’s WWRHAH meeting, as reported here last night. (added) Here’s the November WWRHAH letter:
Today, Desmond has answered that letter; we were CC’d on its reply, which we are publishing here in its entirety:
Thank you for your email of November 7, 2013 about the Transit Center located at the
Westwood Village Shopping Center near Roxhill Park. I appreciate you bringing the concerns of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council to my attention. Safety and security is a high priority for all of us involved in keeping transit riders and community members safe. I apologize for not getting back to you before your December 2nd meeting. We were working to make sure we had all the components to respond to your email as completely as possible.
In the fall of 2012, Metro implemented a series of route restructures in West Seattle that provided additional service to Westwood Village on the RapidRide C Line and Route 21, both of which end service on Southwest Barton Street adjacent to Roxhill Park. In addition, routes 22, 60, 125, and 560 were routed to the east side of Westwood Village along 25th Avenue Southwest. These changes have resulted in the creation of a new transit hub at Westwood Village that connects people to the many services offered there – shopping, dining, fitness, medical services, recreation, and other opportunities. Connections between transit services at Westwood Village also expand the number of places that people can travel and offer new mobility to many residents of West Seattle and beyond. As you have observed, these transit enhancements have generated new activity in and around the bus zone.
After receiving your email, we took some immediate actions to assess the situation in your community, including inspecting the stops involved and increasing Metro Transit Police patrols. Below you’ll find a summary of the steps we’ve taken:
Following up on last month’s meeting (WSB coverage here), the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council last night continued its discussion of Roxhill Park safety improvements. The line-of-sight blockage caused by Metro buses on SW Barton remains a major concern, as does the lack of light in the park – note our photo above, taken early this evening by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand, who was at last night’s WWRHAH meeting. One of the ideas that has picked up steam: Lights around part of the park’s perimeter. WWRHAH president Amanda Kay Helmick said she had talked with Chris Arkills, transportation adviser to County Executive Dow Constantine, about the possibility of at least illuminating Barton in the bus-stop areas. The park’s restroom/playground areas would be an area of focus, too. New Department of Neighborhoods district coordinator Jenny Frankl talked with the council about grants they might pursue for the park.
Another major item on the agenda: The latest on the Barton Combined Sewer Overflow control project. Mary Wohleb from the county Wastewater Treatment Division briefed WWRHAH, saying gas-line and tree-transplanting work is done. Work is still to come for the heart of the project, building raingardens/bioswales starting next year in planting strips along 15 blocks (see the map here). The county will maintain those raingardens, she explained, and has already worked on timetables of general and seasonal maintenance. Attendee Rory Denovan told Wohleb that the county should consider more native plants for the raingardens, saying that some of the plants mentioned on the project website are non-native and invasive. The county announced last week that it’s chosen a general contractor for the $5 million project, Goodfellow Brothers; the next round of public meetings is planned for January 23rd and 25th. Project planning and community discussion have been under way for more than four years; our earliest reports are from fall 2009.
For more notes from the WWRHAH meeting, check out secretary Joe Szilagyi‘s detailed summary on the WWRHAH website.
On the same day that one of King County’s two current combined-sewer-overflow-reduction projects in West Seattle will be the subject of a pre-construction meeting (see our West Seattle Wednesday preview), the other one enters a new phase. As part of the Barton CSO project in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, 24 trees that will be transplanted into new homes – some public right-of-way, some private property – over the next three weeks, as a three-person contractor crew works to dig them up and move them, starting today. The transplants are meant to ensure the trees won’t be destroyed to make way for the bioswales/raingardens that the county is installing, starting next March, to capture rainwater before it gets into the combined-sewer system, therefore helping to keep millions of gallons of raw-sewage-contaminated water from overflowing into Puget Sound when the Barton Pump Station gets overloaded during storms. As shown in the photo we took this morning, the trees that are to be transplanted have been marked with ribbons and notes.
(Crash scene viewed from east side of 35th; photo substituted for original cameraphone image)
7:17 PM: A crash at 35th/Henderson has injured at least two people and brought a sizable “automobile-rescue” response from Seattle Fire. We’re on the way.
7:27 PM UPDATE: Our crew says the crash involves an SUV and a car, in the median just north of the intersection; 35th is blocked both ways. Early radio exchanges suggest neither victim is believed to have life-threatening injuries.
7:52 PM: SFD Lt. Sue Stangl told us at the scene that the two drivers would be taken to Harborview by private ambulance to be checked out. The scene will be cleared sooner rather than later since no major injuries are involved and that means the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad won’t be called out.
(WSB photo from Monday night: Medic unit just outside Roxhill Park)
So you can plan early – the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has just gone public with the agenda for its next meeting on November 5th, including safety at Roxhill Park and Westwood Village, following recent incidents such as the Monday night assault and ongoing concerns. Read on for the agenda:
One young fan was all geared up for the occasion this morning when the crew from Seattle Fire Department Engine 37 came to Southwest Branch Library – less than a mile from their station – for Firefighter Story Time. They read the classic fire-safety book “No Dragons for Tea” – but the story wasn’t the only attraction; their gear drew a crowd too:
This is the fourth of ten Firefighter Story Times around the city this month, which among other things is Fire Prevention Month. As SFD points out, preschoolers are especially vulnerable to burn injuries, so the sooner they learn about fire safety, the better.
The 22nd annual Artist Showcase at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson) starts one week from today, and the library wants to make sure everyone interested in participating knows about it. Signups are under way, and dropoff dates are October 10th-12th, right before the October 13th-November 9th showcase begins. Each artist can drop off up to three creations to be displayed; the library also is offering art-making classes during the showcase, which is highlighted by a reception to meet the artists on November 3rd. Dates and details for all of the above (and more) are listed on the official flyer – see it here.
P.S. If you want to go sign up today – the library’s open until 5 pm.
For the first time in 3 years, West Seattle will have at least one “park for a day” on PARKing Day, which is coming up this Friday. We’ve confirmed that one will be set up in front of Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) at Westwood Village. There also had been plans for one in The Junction, but West Seattle Bike Connections had to cancel it for lack of volunteer power. Anybody else planning one? We’re awaiting the official citywide map, which will be linked here sometime soon.
All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^