West Seattle, Washington
The big news from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting goes with the notebook pictured above: It’s full of contacts, cards, agendas, and other documents gathered by Amanda Kay Helmick, who has stepped down after four years of leadership with the group. Mat McBride is with her in our next photo – the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair who helped shepherd WWRHAH into existence:
(Here’s our report on WWRHAH’s first meeting in February 2013.) Eric Iwamoto has co-chaired WWRHAH with Helmick recently, and Kim Barnes has taken on a major role, especially regarding the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village’s destiny with HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, and other land-use issues, but the group hasn’t yet decided its leadership path forward. They’ll talk about it next month – when the major topic is expected to be the HALA MHA draft Environmental Impact Statement, due out soon – and they’re also planning a door-to-door campaign to reach people who might not have heard about WWRHAH.
Along with HALA, another major issue is how – whether – the future Delridge RapidRide H (Route 120 is converting in 2020) will relate to/engage with the area. Helmick said she had been trying to reach Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office and SDOT to get some key questions answered and so far had nothing but what she called “radio silence.” Here’s what she had sent:
At the WWRHAH meeting on Tuesday, our group made it very clear to SDOT that they needed to clarify their role in upgrading the 120. Specifically, SDOT needs to clarify whether it is planning the route, ie; removing / consolidating stops, or working on the pavement, roadway and pedestrian improvements.
Therese Casper from SDOT acknowledged the need for collaboration between SDOT and Metro on the routing issue. Metro has a known process for surveying their riders to find out where they are going, how far they have to walk, etc. Doug Johnson of Metro, who was at the meeting, acknowledged that is has been several years since a 120 survey was taken. We would like see SDOT start the collaboration by requesting Metro have the survey done before the design phase begins.
We also cannot stress enough the need for SDOT to consider the HALA/MHA upzone proposals in the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village. Currently, the 120 does not run through the heart of the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village. The folks in the Highland Park are cut off from bus service because of this, and the upgrade does nothing to rectify that. Comparably, the C Line, runs along California Ave SW specifically because of the Urban Village instead of taking the faster route along Fauntleroy Way.
Lastly, without significant attention paid to improving the ingress/egress to the peninsula, it doesn’t matter how fast you can get from Roxbury to the bridge. The City must find a way to improve this situation.
WWRHAH has been working on issues surrounding Metro and the impacts of bus service to the community for 4 years. We have seen very little in the way of solutions for our area, but we see the Move Seattle Levy as an opportunity to do something amazing that will improve mobility, connectivity and livability for an area that is under served.
Also at last night’s WWRHAH meeting:
CRIME UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said Westwood Village is still having shoplifting issues, and the precinct continues to work with management to get some structure in place that will allow police and businesses to work more efficiently in tackling the project.
COUNCIL CANDIDATE: City Council Position 8 candidate Dr. Hisam Goueli came to the WWRHAH meeting, mostly to listen to and learn about the area’s issues.
Transportation was front and center. Among other topics – Dr. Goueli mentioned he’s a doctor, and promptly was informed that West Seattle is without a hospital. He’s one of 10 candidates currently in the running for the citywide position that Councilmember Tim Burgess currently holds but is not seeking to keep.
WWRHAH needs you more than ever – and you’ll find them at 6:15 pm first Tuesdays in the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Library, 35th SW/SW Henderson.
In case you haven’t already seen it on the calendar already – tomorrow (Saturday) morning brings the annual fun, free, potentially life-saving April Pools Day event at Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle), which invites kids and their families into the water to learn about:
Preventing open-water drowning
Life-jacket use and promotion
Basic water rescue for children
No pre-registration necessary – just show up at SW Pool, 10:30 am-noon. (It’s one of seven Seattle city-run pools participating.) That’s conveniently right after the 10 am egg hunt at adjacent Southwest Teen Life Center!
While the transformation of Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line is three years away, major decisions are being made now, and this is the time to bring up concerns to SDOT and Metro, both leading the project because city dollars are helping pay for it. Since the new planning phase revved up last month, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSB coverage here) and Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (WSB coverage here) have hosted discussions/briefings. And this week, it’s the centerpiece of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council agenda (6:15 pm Tuesday, Southwest Library). The WWRHAH agenda says the discussion with SDOT/Metro reps will include “mobility issues surrounding the Westwood Village ‘transit hub’ and the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village.” All are welcome; the library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.
It’s the new-business question we’ve been asked the most in recent weeks – when is the Westwood Village Ulta Beauty store opening? Today, we finally have the answer. We first reported back in June that Ulta would be taking over the former Pier 1 Imports space, after we found the information in the city permit files; the company wouldn’t confirm at the time, but the store has taken shape in recent months. Finally, they’ve announced the grand opening weekend as Friday, April 14th, through Sunday, April 16th. This is one of about 100 stores the chain expects to open this fiscal year; it has almost 1,000 stores nationwide.
(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from March 2014)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been three years since the then-fledgling Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council put out a call for help with the issues threatening Roxhill Bog, historic headwaters for Longfellow Creek. The bog had been a community concern for years before that, and underwent some restoration, but needs help beyond what community stewardship and work parties can offer. That was one of the topics brought up at WWRHAH’s meeting last night when City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – in her second year in office – sat down for a conversation, the centerpiece of a meeting that touched on other topics too: Read More
As announced at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting (WSB coverage here), West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold will be the guest at March’s meeting, the just-released agenda confirms. All are welcome at the meeting, which is one week from tonight – Tuesday, March 7th, 6:15 pm at Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson).
Another followup on the 24th SW/SW Kenyon sinkhole that got a Waste Management truck stuck for a while back on Monday afternoon: More about the cause, and the repairs, from Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Rachel Ramey:
SPU located a damaged 15-inch drainage pipe under the street that was clogged with debris and tree roots. Crew members cleaned the downstream pipe to remove debris. Repair crews will be onsite Sunday 7:30 am to 8 pm and Monday 7:30-5 pm for repairs. SPU expects to complete pipe repairs and a temporary patch on the roadway by mid-week, next week. SDOT permanent street repair will follow.
We had already reported Tuesday that a stormwater pipe was to blame, but this adds information about the size and scope of that problem.
Everybody got out OK after this car went off 34th SW near SW Cloverdale and onto its side on the sidewalk. Often these types of crashes are dispatched as “heavy rescues” but the people in the car were out before SFD and SPD arrived so it was a smaller, short-lived response. Police were still talking with them to determine what happened and said everyone was being “cooperative.”
While the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village was the first of West Seattle’s four urban villages to get a city-coordinated Community Design Workshop about its HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposals, that November 9th event was so soon after those proposals were released that it was little-publicized and lightly attended. But community volunteers have continued to review the WW-HP proposals (see the official “draft rezoning map” above) and are inviting you to a meeting one week from tonight to collaborate on a community response while the comment period remains open. Here are the details, from Kim Barnes:
The Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village community volunteers will hold a followup short presentation and discussion centered around the city workshop held on November 9th, and community led workshop held on November 30th, 2016.
All members of the public interested in collaborating a full response to the MHA legislation and upcoming EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) that will provide the rezoning proposal of Westwood Highland Park are invited to attend.
Please note that this is a community led meeting and city employees will not be in attendance.
Please join us Wednesday, March 1st to get in the loop and collaborate. Topics covered in this tight
90 minute meeting will include:
o A very brief overview of the MHA Principles. Brief overview of the proposed up-zoning for the Westwood Highland Park Residential Urban Village.
o Where is the City information? Where to find the resources to learn more.
o Overview of the Revised Timeline for public input on the draft EIS.
o Review and discuss the Community Feedback gathered on November 9..What’s missing and why.
o Discuss what other neighborhoods across the city are doing—how they are formulating their own community response.
o Agree to a next-steps plan to collaborate knowledge and resources to develop a full response to the EIS in the coming months.
o Formulate a request to the City to present the draft EIS for our urban village as soon as it’s published.
o If time allows: Review the Urban Village up-zone map and 3D model presented in late November at HPIC.
What this meeting is not:
o A city-sponsored meeting with experts in the areas of MHA legislation, zoning, etc.
o A forum for comments or complaints regarding MHA and HALA to be conveyed by the volunteers to the city.
Date/Time: March 1, from 7 pm-8:30 pm, doors open 6:45 pm
Please rsvp for an anticipated head count to: email@example.com
Location: Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden Street
The city’s official notes from the November 9th meeting, by the way, were finally posted online about a week ago, and you can find them linked from this page (where the Junction and Admiral notes will apparently eventually appear, too).
Seattle Public Utilities was back today at the 24th SW/SW Kenyon intersection where a Waste Management truck got stuck (as first reported here Monday afternoon, thanks to a reader tip, and updated until the truck was taken away three-plus hours later).
SPU spokesperson Marieke Rake tells WSB that they found a damaged stormwater pipe beneath the street, and that’s what they believe caused the sinkhole (their term, “void”). She added that an SPU maintenance team is cleaning the downstream pipe to remove debris,” and within a few days they’ll “have an estimated pipe-repair timeframe.”
FIRST REPORT, 1:48 PM: Thanks for the tip! After a call (206-293-6302 any time!) about a Waste Management truck “stuck in a sinkhole” at 24th SW/SW Kenyon – a short distance east of Denny International Middle School – we went over to look, and that’s indeed what happened.
The front end, as our photos show, is almost wheel-deep, and the truck driver was working to get absorbent material into the hole to sop up any fluid spills – this is not far from Longfellow Creek, which runs along the east side of the Denny/Sealth campus. More help was being summoned, and we’ll check back later. Side note: This is the second Monday in a row that a WM truck got into trouble in West Seattle – you’ll recall Ann Anderson‘s reader report from Admiral last week.
2:20 PM UPDATE: Via the scanner, we’re hearing that SPD is now blocking off the area – 24th SW southbound from Holden and eastbound from Kenyon. (Here’s a map of the scene, which shows why.)
3:06 PM: We just went over to check on how things are going. In the upper left of the photo above is a tow truck that has arrived on scene. Other logistics are still being worked out.
5:20 PM: The truck has been pulled out of the hole and was towed away a short time ago. We arrived back at the scene in time for a look at it – the damage doesn’t look as bad as you might expect.
We talked briefly with an SPU rep at the scene. They have used video equipment to look under the street; water and sewer lines are not affected. They are using a vactor truck to clear water out of storm drainage just east of the sinkhole. (Added: Closer look at the hole, after the truck was pulled out.)
We’ll be checking with SDOT tomorrow about repair plans.
Thanks to Chief Sealth International High School Black Student Union senator Khaim Vassar for sharing the photo and invitation:
The Chief Sealth International High School Black Student Union will be hosting our 2nd Annual Black History Month Community Dinner at Southwest Teen Life Center on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm (doors will be opening at 4:45 pm). All are welcome. Free to attend.
We encourage our community to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of Black People locally, nationally, and globally.
“Unity is Strength, Division is weakness” ~ Swahili Proverb
Southwest TLC is in the same building as Southwest Pool – 2801 SW Thistle.
Tuesday night was not much of a night for meeting-going, with slush and ice still on the roads, but hardy executive-board members Amanda Kay Helmick, Eric Iwamoto, and Kim Barnes were at the Southwest Library for February’s meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, as were guests Lt. Ron Smith of the Southwest Precinct and Jordan Lowe from startup Josephine.com. Over the course of an hour, here are the toplines of what they talked about:
SOUTHWEST PRECINCT UPDATES: Lt. Smith said the Parks Department was cutting more vegetation by the Roxhill Park bus stop earlier in the day, to increase visibility to reduce crime and other problems. (Helmick mentioned that Metro is getting close to permits for the long-requested lighting alongside the park and is now projecting installation in March.) Businesses in the area are contacting police more often about problems. Then, area crime stats – “a huge increase in vehicle thefts” lately, especially Arbor Heights, Lt. Smith said. Six more than the area had seen by this time last year. But they’ve been making arrests, too. And car prowls are down, as are residential burglaries and robberies. So far this year, there’s been one non-residential burglary in the area, compared to none last year.
HALA REZONING: Barnes has been birddogging this and says that because turnout was low for November’s little-publicized Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda-related Community Design Workshop for the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village meeting was so anemic, the city Office of Planning and Community Development has offered to have another meeting for this area. It’ll be March 1st at Highland Park Improvement Club, start time TBA. They’ll go over notes from the November meeting and get into more details about how to provide community feedback on the proposed rezoning.
JOSEPHINE.COM: Jordan Lowe from Mount Baker was an invited guest to talk about this startup, which “allows home cooks to sell food to their neighbors.” He is one of those cooks and said he uses it as supplementary income. “I pick what I want to cook, how much I want to charge, put it on the website, people come and pick it up. … Over the last couple months we’ve been growing a lot in Seattle.” All cooks need to have a food handler’s permit, he said, and the company pays for it if necessary; they also check out the cooks’ kitchens. He went into some of the details. So far, West Seattle has “three or four people” who are going through the application process. Yes, there’s a catch – “we operate in a gray area,” as Lowe put it when we asked – the meals have to technically be considered “events” by health authorities rather than people making and selling food for purchase. The company started in California and expanded to Portland and Seattle.
NEXT WWRHAH MEETING: Councilmember Lisa Herbold is scheduled to be at the March WWRHAH meeting. The discussion of the group’s direction also has been moved to that meeting (6:15 pm, Tuesday, March 7th, Southwest Library, 35th SW/SW Henderson).
After a question about work under way now at currently vacant EC Hughes Elementary (7740 34th SW) – likely to be the new home of Roxhill Elementary starting in fall 2018 – we followed up today with Seattle Public Schools.
As we reported back in October, the district planned to take the ~$14 million Hughes renovation project to bid early this year, and district capital-project manager Paul Wight tells WSB today that’s still the plan: “The Capital Department is preparing the documents for bidding. We will advertise this project on February 7th, open bids on March 8th, award the contract in April and start construction in May.”
Our photo above, taken this morning, shows some signs of work there now. Wight says it’s “critical maintenance” that must be done before the renovation work:
The Seattle Public Schools Facility Department has cleaned up the front landscape, removing some unhealthy vegetation and trimming up heathy trees and plants. They are also repairing the historic wood windows from the interior of the building. Our Masons are working on the brick repairing mortar by tuck pointing the brick as well as installing seismic ties around the egress points of the building. The brick will be cleaned, resealed, and anti-graffiti coating installed.
The city Department of Construction and Inspections, Wight adds, is reviewing the permit drawings and is expected to issue the permit “within the next month or two.”
One more thing: The public is welcome to the district’s next meeting with the Roxhill Elementary PTSA, which Wight says is set for 6 pm February 13th at
Roxhill EC Hughes. (Our report on the district’s briefing with the PTSA last fall is here.)
Though many government offices/facilities are closed today, Seattle Public Library branches are open! In West Seattle, the Southwest and WS (Admiral) branches are open now, closing at 8 pm; the Delridge branch is open 1-8 pm; the High Point branch remains closed for renovations (reopening January 9th).
No special events at the branches today, but tomorrow, if you have kid(s) home from school for winter break, check this out: Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson) has an event that children’s librarian Dave Eicke wants to make sure you know about – Lego Space Wars, 2-4 pm Tuesday. As Eicke points out, “Play and use of Legos have been shown to show real benefits in STEM education. The planning and building helps with communicating ideas with physical objects.” Free, no registration required, just show up!
From Anthony at Southwest Pool:
Southwest Pool is collecting nonperishable food and snacks for the West Seattle Food Bank. Last year we brought in 300 pounds of donations. The food drive is now through Friday (December 16th).
To give back for community support, today through Friday, the Southwest Pool will also have specific discounted swims for persons who donate 3 or more nonperishables to the activity.
Here’s the schedule for that:
Southwest Pool is at 2801 SW Thistle.
2:15 PM: If you saw the big Seattle Police response in Sunrise Heights/Westwood – with a brief appearance by the Guardian One helicopter – here’s what we’ve found out: Someone saw a package theft in progress, called 911, and gave police a description of the alleged thieves’ vehicle. Police arrived, spotted the car, stopped it in an alley east of 35th and Thistle, and took two people into custody. (Thanks to @MetPatrick22 for the tweet about the search, which was first we’d heard of this.)
2:30 PM: Since this happened such a short time ago, SPD media relations doesn’t have details yet, but they were able to tell us that the original theft report was near 35th/Trenton, not too far from the arrest scene.
12:39 PM: After multiple messages about a power outage at the Target store at Westwood Village – one that wasn’t showing on the Seattle City Light map – we went over to investigate. A manager tells us the store lost power after closing last night. It now has partial power, and is open for business, but some of the lights aren’t on, and they’re not able to run the freezers in the grocery section, so you can’t buy frozen food. They’re not yet sure how soon this will be fixed – they have an electrician continuing to investigate.
5:07 PM: Passing by between stories, we note that the lights appear to be back to normal, including exterior signage. (If you shop there tonight and find out otherwise, please let us know – we won’t be able to check until later – thank you.)
Tomorrow (Monday) night, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets, and you’re invited. We have added the full agenda to the meeting’s listing on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar; major items include another update on the action plan resulting from July’s Find It, Fix It Walk, and a look ahead to Green Seattle Day volunteering on November 12th. The meeting starts at 6:15 pm, upstairs at Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson).
5:56 PM: If you saw the big police response outside the Westwood Village McDonald’s around 5:15 pm – here’s what it was about: Officers spotted someone they knew had a warrant out for his arrest, related to an armed-robbery case, called for backup, moved in, and arrested him. We don’t have name/case information yet but will be watching the jail register.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Online records show the suspect arrested is 20-year-old Christian Demuth-Hebert. He also was cited for resisting arrest and obstructing police. He is jailed in lieu of $101,000 bail – the $100,000 is for the robbery warrant, which we traced to a case involving shoplifting turned violent at a store in Bellevue, which is also the city listed for his most recent residence. We haven’t found any West Seattle ties so far. The charging documents in that case say his record stretches back to at least 14: “Assault Third Degree and Theft Third Degree (2016, reduced from Robbery 2); Theft Third Degree (2015, reduced from Robbery 2); Vehicle Prowl 2 (2015); Theft Third Degree (2014), Escape Third Degree (2011) and Criminal Trespass (2011, 2010).”
A few people are asking about the work that’s now under way at the former Pier 1 Imports space in Westwood Village. In case you missed our original story back in June: It’s being remodeled into an Ulta Beauty retail-and-salon location. Back when we discovered that in building-permit files, Ulta wouldn’t confirm it, but not only has the permit been granted and work started, they’re even advertising for help at the new store. We’re checking on a projected opening date.
2:51 PM Several people have asked us about police and fire at 34th SW/SW Thistle this past hour – it was logged as a low-level car-crash response (“Motor Vehicle Incident”) but the photo above, sent in via text (thank you!), shows one casualty … a street sign. At least the second time in less than a week that a car’s taken out a sign (following last week’s Alki crash). No medic unit sent to this one, which indicates no major injuries, but we’re doublechecking with SFD to be sure.
3:25 PM: SFD confirms it was a 2-car crash with no injuries.