Update: Man arrested after stealing SUV with baby inside in West Seattle, and abandoning both in Greenbridge

August 27th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, west seattle, White Center news No Comments »

ORIGINAL REPORT: If you’re seeing Seattle Police and helicopters, there’s a search under way in White Center after a man who stole a vehicle with a baby inside ditched the vehicle, a black Ford Edge. Searchers are looking in an area including the 13th/100th vicinity. The baby is OK. If you see anyone suspicious, call 911 ASAP. More details on our partner site West Seattle Blog; the SUV was stolen in Highland Park.

UPDATE: A suspect is in custody, arrested at 17th/Roxbury.

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Followup: White Center bike corral meeting

August 26th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Transportation, White Center news No Comments »

Bikes parked outside the King County Sheriff’s Office White Center Storefront tonight hinted at what was happening inside – the community meeting about more bicycle parking in downtown WC.

Katie Meyer was there for WCN. She reports that it was a full house, at least 40 people.

She reports that bike parking stations in several locations were proposed as an alternative to the “bike corral” planned on the street in front of Proletariat Pizza and Caffé Delia, both of which support it. This alternative could result in even more bike parking than the corral, and it apparently still would qualify for the King County grant money that was planned for the corral. So a new plan will be crafted and discussed.

It also was noted during the meeting that concerns about the bike corral seemed tied to other local issues, so Elizabeth Gordon, co-proprietor of Uncle Mike’s Barbecue and a North Highline Unincorporated Area Council member, urged everyone to attend NHUAC’s next meeting on September 4th (7 pm, North Highline Fire District HQ), so those issues can be raised and addressed there.

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Wheels spinning on downtown White Center bike-parking increase? Meeting Tuesday

August 22nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Transportation, White Center news 4 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

It’s been five months since County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s newsletter touted a county grant for “bike corral” parking in downtown White Center – but the corral’s not in place yet. One more community conversation is planned for next week.

The corral would triple bicycle parking in downtown White Center, which has an increasing population to serve, especially with more development on the drawing boards right across the city/county line in the South Delridge area. Immediately north of the business area, the city of Seattle is working on a project that is expected to make the busy Roxbury arterial friendlier and safer for bicycle riders and pedestrians.

The corral is proposed for 16th SW in front of Proletariat Pizza and Caffé Delia, both of which are excited about it. The space is currently used for two diagonal motorized-vehicle spaces. If converted to bike-corral space, it would park up to 20 bikes.

Proletariat’s proprietors are hoping to clear up misconceptions and concerns they say are being voiced by nearby businesses who don’t like the idea. They contacted WCN to let us know about the meeting next week. It’s being hosted by the White Center Community Development Association, which was involved in seeking the grant to fund the bike corral, at 6:30 pm Tuesday (August 26th) in the King County Sheriff’s Office storefront space in downtown White Center.

The $3,000 grant is to come from the Community Service Areas‘ grant funds, set up when King County changed its relationship with unincorporated areas a few years ago. The rationale voiced in the grant document:

The White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA) along with local White Center residents are requesting funding for the “Bike, Shop, Eat White Center” project; the primary goal of this project is to grow bicycling in White Center as an alternative method of transportation for local families and residents. Funding to purchase the bicycle corrals will increase bicycle parking in the White Center business district, which will encourage residents to ride their bikes to local shopping and dining destinations. Part of our project proposal includes a bike ride led by experienced volunteer bicyclists; open to all in the White Center community to learn about safe riding techniques as well as bike and route safety. The ride would include stops at Greenbridge Library, the new bike corrals, and other neighborhood stops.

There are several benefits for the proposed project; increased physical activity for local residents, greater knowledge of bicycle and route safety, building community, and boosting the local economy.

As part of the grant application, proposers had to explain how certain goals would be met – here’s how they replied:

Promote the engagement of local residents in community or civic activities: by promoting bicycling as a healthy, local activity in White Center, we are helping to build community around alternative methods of transportation. Some local residents have expressed interest in hosting safety rides to teach others on riding safely and selecting safe routes; as White Center continues to grow into a family friendly neighborhood this is a way to engage with multiple generations while encouraging healthier habits.

Educate local residents about issues impacting them: One of the assets we have in White Center is its small-town feel; with shopping and dining destinations just a few blocks from home, many people still drive the few minutes rather than use it as an opportunity to walk or bike. The White Center/Boulevard Park neighborhoods have some of the starkest health statistics compared to the rest of King County. Data from Seattle King County Public Health indicates that access to exercise and obesity is a challenge for residents of the White Center/Boulevard Park areas for residents of all ages. Our project would be one of the ways to address this issue in White Center.

Implement a community enhancement project: A majority of the funding request for this project would be to purchase bike corrals for the neighborhood’s business district to more than TRIPLE existing bicycle parking. With the addition of bike corrals to the downtown core along with resident-led bike rides around White Center to educate those new to bicycling, we hope that this will begin a positive cultural shift that will support the local businesses and promote healthier habits.

North of White Center, West Seattle’s first official bike corral was installed in The Junction just last month. Seattle now has 26 bike corrals, according to the city website. Portland has four times that, according to its website.

Looking back at downtown White Center’s history, the angled parking dates to 1992. Branching out into a multimodal transportation system was foreseen in the 2007 “We Create White Center” report, which includes the goal (on page 15) “Create a community that supports and encourages bicycling as a mode of transportation,” and recommends “increased bicycle racks” (on page 95). That was years before County Executive Dow Constantine made “confronting climate change” one of his signature goals.

The storefront, site of next Tuesday’s 6:30 pm meeting, is at 9609 16th SW.

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White Center businesses: Center Studio to say goodbye

August 20th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Health, White Center news 1 Comment »

One week from Friday – on August 29th – Center Studio in downtown White Center will have its final classes. Proprietor Lonjina Verdugo announced via Facebook that she’s closing up shop after two years. Equipment and fixtures from the fitness business are listed for sale in a CL ad. Though yoga/fitness has been the core of Center Studio’s business, the space also had spotlighted artists and guest vendors, plus multiple editions of the pop-up “Cattywampus Kids” shop with retro kid stuff.

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Rat City Recon music festival this Saturday

August 19th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Music, White Center news No Comments »

No need to leave the area this weekend, with events like this: Three venues, one night, 10 bands, so far. Here’s the plan, according to the Rat City Recon Facebook event page:

It’s that time, everybody! Rat City Recon is happening on August 23rd! Our music festival will feature 10 bands at 3 venues in downtown White Center. Here is our lineup:

Mac’s Triangle Pub:

Blanco Bronco
7-Year Old Blind Girl
Mico de Noche

Full Tilt:

Gems
Joseph Giant
Darci Carlson

Company Bar:

Burien
Drunk Dad
Don Peyote
Erasehorse

Rat City Recon is a free event. Pre-order for our exclusive t-shirt is available at each of the venues. $20 will guarantee you a shirt in your size and a wristband good for happy hour drinks at each venue all night. Stay tuned for set times. See you in Rat City!

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WSDOT wants to make sure you know about the big Highway 99 closure starting Friday night

August 19th, 2014 Tracy Posted in alaskan way viaduct, Traffic, White Center news No Comments »

Important reminder – if you use Highway 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and lower Queen Anne, a two-phase closure starting this Friday night WILL affect you. Here are the newest details/reminders from WSDOT:

A portion of State Route 99 closes for four full days starting this Friday. If drivers have not already made plans for this closure, now is the time to do so.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will close both directions of SR 99 between South Spokane Street and Valley Street from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, until 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25. Crews will reopen SR 99 south of the Battery Street Tunnel just before the Monday morning commute; however, the highway will remain closed through the tunnel to Valley Street until 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27.

“We need Seattle commuters to plan ahead for this closure,” said Dave Sowers, deputy administrator for the WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “The section of 99 we’re closing Monday and Tuesday is shorter in length than what we’re closing that weekend, but it has the potential to create longer backups and delays both on city streets and I-5.”

Seahawks traffic considerations
· Northbound SR 99 will be open from South Royal Brougham Way and southbound SR 99 will be open from Columbia Street until midnight Friday, Aug. 22, for traffic related to the Seahawks’ preseason game.

Why a four-day closure is needed
· It will take four days for contractor crews working for WSDOT to demolish and replace the section of SR 99 over Broad Street. This new section of the highway will become part of the permanent connection between the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal and a new surface street section of Aurora Avenue North.
· Four days are also necessary for crews to reroute the water and sewer lines underneath SR 99 near Harrison Street.
· During the weekend portion of the closure, contractor crews will replace 81 damaged or cracked concrete road panels that comprise the SR 99 lanes between South Spokane and South Holgate streets. They will also repair an expansion joint at the northbound SR 99 exit to Seneca Street.

Closure details (view closure maps)
· At 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, crews will close both directions of SR 99 between South Spokane Street and Valley Street. However, due to the Seahawks game, northbound SR 99 will remain open at South Royal Brougham way and southbound SR 99 will remain open from the Columbia Street on-ramp until midnight.
· At 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25, crews will reopen both directions of SR 99 south of the Battery Street Tunnel. Both directions of SR 99 will remain closed between the south end of the tunnel and Valley Street.
· At 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, crews will reopen both directions of SR 99 between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street.

Driver tips
· Allow plenty of extra travel time.
· Leave early or delay your trip to avoid traveling during peak commute periods in the morning and afternoon.
· Delay or reschedule discretionary trips.
· Consider telecommuting.
· Take King County Metro during off peak hours and plan for reroutes on buses that use SR 99, or share a ride in a car or vanpool.
· If you must drive, know before you go and use WSDOT’s travel tools.

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Backpack giveaway tomorrow at Westwood Christian Community

August 19th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Churches, west seattle, White Center news No Comments »

Student(s) in your family, or someone you know, in need of school supplies? Check out this event just north of White Center tomorrow (Wednesday):

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Will White Center’s storefront deputy be replaced? Online petition asks Sheriff John Urquhart to keep commitment to staff WC, Skyway storefronts

August 15th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news No Comments »

No replacement yet for the former King County Sheriff’s Office storefront deputy for White Center, BJ Myers, and local advocates are worried there might never be one, especially in the wake of a schedule-change message from KCSO’s local leadership. Now, an online petition is in circulation, asking Sheriff John Urquhart to appoint new deputies for Skyway as well as White Center:

We are counting on you to keep your promise to fully fund, staff, support, and incentivize storefront deputy positions for Skyway and White Center. It’s a matter of our safety.

If you’re interested in signing it, go here. We’ll be following up with KCSO about the deputy situation next week.

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‘Luau at the Lake’: 34th District Democrats’ first Garden Party at Lakewood Park

August 15th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center news No Comments »

New location tonight for the 34th District Democrats‘ summertime fundraiser – the Garden Party moved to White Center, at TAF’s Bethaday Community Learning Space in Lakewood Park. And so, with Hicklin Lake in view, the party was dubbed “Luau at the Lake.” As always, the crowd included elected officials, like State Rep. Eileen Cody and Seattle School Board director Marty McLaren:

State Senate Democratic leader Senator Sharon Nelson:

34th leaders too – that’s Chris Porter with the big smile:

You can’t have a luau without boat drinks:

And this was an auction, too, with at least one item carrying a Presidential seal:

When not garden-partying, the 34th District Democrats meet monthly on the second Wednesday, 7 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy in West Seattle.

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Update: Man stabbed in White Center, no arrest yet

August 14th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Photo courtesy Tim Clemans)
ORIGINAL 1:38 AM REPORT: A search is under way for someone suspected in a stabbing reported in downtown White Center. According to a radio transmission asking for Seattle Police to be on the lookout, someone was stabbed at the Locker Room Tavern on 16th SW. We don’t know the circumstances or condition, but a search is under way now (with a possible suspect spotted in West Seattle). We hope to find out more about this later in the morning, too.

8:55 AM UPDATE: According to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates:

The stabbing was between two men who were acquaintances, and they were both intoxicated. After both were refused service in the Locker Room Tavern they were outside talking for a while when for unknown reasons the suspect stabbed the victim in the back. The suspect left on foot and a K-9 track didn’t locate him. The at-large suspect is described as a Native American male about 5’10″ and 160 pounds with what is described as a mullet hairstyle. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket and (in possession of) a baseball hat. The victim was uncooperative with deputies so it’s unknown if he will= assist in prosecution. His injuries were said to be life-threatening, but I’ve had no further update on his condition since shortly after the incident.

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Another White Center and vicinity power outage, this time because of a crash

August 13th, 2014 Tracy Posted in utilities, White Center news 3 Comments »

(Screengrab of City Light map added 9:49 pm – yes, it looks a lot like the one from early today!)
No power? You’re not alone. We’re getting reports from Shorewood and part of White Center that power is out again – as of this writing Seattle City Light still doesn’t have the full scope of it on its map, but we have multiple reports it’s linked to a crash. We’re en route to the location to verify.

UPDATE: City Light also verifies the crash is to blame, at 10th/116th. We have just arrived in the area. Traffic signals are out at 16th/112th and 16th/116th, so if you have to drive in the area, please remember to treat nonfunctioning signals as four-way stops. 4,200 customers are without power, according to the customer hotline.

2ND UPDATE: Now it’s on the City Light map, as of 9:40 pm. We also have learned from sheriff’s deputies that 2 people were hurt in the crash and taken to the hospital. Too dangerous because of downed pole to get close, so we only have a photo of North Highline Fire District crew standing by:

3RD UPDATE: City Light says crews are routing power and should get it back to most “within the hour” (which would be, by 11 pm). And we’re starting to hear from people who indeed are connected again.

1:35 AM: City Light map shows 1200+ customers still out of power. We’ve also learned that Seattle Police are investigating the crash that started it. We hope to learn a lot more about that later this morning.

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Update: Power outage hits parts of White Center and vicinity

August 13th, 2014 Tracy Posted in utilities, Weather, White Center news 2 Comments »

(Screengrab from Seattle City Light map)
12:53 AM: Shortly after major rain started to fall, power went out to a wide area including part of White Center. The Seattle City Light outage map shows more than 4,200 homes/businesses are out of power. So far, no cause listed – just that SCL is “investigating” – but at least one tipster reports big lightning preceded it.

1:30 AM: City Light says it’s restored power to about a third of the customers affected, leaving about 2,600 without electricity.

2:02 AM: And now, fewer than 1,000 still without power.

6 AM: Almost 600, mostly in the South Park area, remain without power.

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White Center businesses: Martial-arts teacher moves from West Seattle, now at Body Movement Arts

August 12th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Health, White Center news Comments Off

A “grand reopening” is planned next month for a longtime West Seattle martial-arts practice that has relocated to White Center.

Until fall 2012, Restita DeJesus operated the Seattle Wushu Center in a West Seattle facility that now is home to a CrossFit studio. She moved classes to another nearby location while looking for a new facility and found it in White Center, across from Southgate Roller Rink, at what’s now known as Body Movement Arts (9627 17th SW). She says:

The new location has a totally new look, 3000 square feet of studio space, and offers classes in Filipino Martial Arts and self-defense, Kung Fu, Wushu, and Tai Chi. A Personal Trainer on site not only teaches some of the classes but also offers personal training sessions. Classes run from as early as 7:00 am all the way through to 8:30 pm.

The “grand reopening” open house on September 14th will feature a Lion Dance performance as well as free short introductory classes for all ages (4 and up).

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Scenes from Night Out 2014 in North Highline

August 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, Neighborhoods, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

Thanks to North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin for sharing photos from a lively Night Out gathering in NH – our apologies for delayed publication. Above, NH Fire District firefighters stopped by. Below, King County Sheriff’s Office was represented too – that’s Major Jerrell Wills in uniform:

And he wasn’t alone:

Next year, let us know if you are having a Night Out party – we would love to stop by a few, as we do on the other side of the city-county line – whitecenternow@gmail.com any time!

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Election 2014: North Highline Fire District ‘benefit charge’ passing

August 5th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 1 Comment »

It needs 60 percent approval – and so far, after the first ballot count in tonight’s election, the North Highline Fire District benefit charge has almost 70 percent approval. Here’s the full list of election results from around King County; next ballot count will be out tomorrow afternoon.

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Election Day: Get your ballot in by 8 pm

August 5th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off

Today is Election Day and for your vote to count, your ballot needs to either be in the mail by tonight – and postmarked with today’s date, with postage on the envelope – or turned in at a dropbox or dropoff van by 8 pm, which does NOT require postage. There’s a van in White Center, on 8th SW in Greenbridge, all the way up until that last moment at 8. If you still need a reason to vote, there is one big measure to be decided today, the North Highline Fire District benefit charge, which requires a 60 percent “yes” vote to pass. Whatever and whomever you’re voting for, don’t let your ballot go to waste.

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Making Roxbury safer: What’s being proposed, including a ‘road diet’

August 1st, 2014 Tracy Posted in safety, Transportation, White Center news 6 Comments »

Though the city/county line runs down the middle of Roxbury for most of its length, Seattle is accountable for taking care of what’s between the north and south curbs. So it’s leading the way on the SW Roxbury safety project, for which North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and neighboring Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council led the campaign. The Seattle Department of Transportation unveiled its proposals on Thursday night, at the first of two meetings (the second of which is in White Center on Monday). Here’s a sneak peek via the slide deck:

The biggest part of the proposal is from downtown White Center westward – proposing “rechannelization,” or what’s also more conversationally known as a “road diet,” for the segment between 17th and 35th, converting it to one lane each way, with a center turn lane, and five-foot-wide buffers (shoulders) on each side. For full details on what’s being proposed – but far from finalized – on the full stretch, see our report on West Seattle Blog. Bring questions/concerns/ideas/etc. to the Monday meeting (August 4th), 6 pm at the Greenbridge Y, 9720 8th SW.

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King County Sheriff’s Office to change storefront operations in White Center

July 30th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

As previously announced, White Center’s assigned storefront deputy BJ Myers is moving on to a new assignment. He will not be immediately followed by a specific new assigned storefront deputy, according to KCSO’s Southwest Precinct Commander, Major Jerrell Wills. But the storefront still WILL be staffed, Major Wills explains. First, he shares the memo from Sheriff John Urquhart:

So here are the reasons for the operational change to the schedule in both storefronts [White Center and West Hill]:

1. The current 4/10 schedule does not allow for Friday and Saturday coverage at all. The new schedule does.

2. A storefront deputy should be available to the public five days a week, rather than four.

3. To reduce the need for overtime for community meetings by having the deputy more available during their shift.

4. Since KCSO did not receive budget authority for more deputies in 2015, a five day schedule allows for more deputies in the field.

5. Skyway, in particular, has seen a rash of gun violence this summer, and therefore the need for a deputy on at least that extra day compared to a 4/10.

6. The need to control costs. A non-rotating 4/10 schedule creates an extra expense (and days off) for Holiday pay.

In addition, due to budgetary reasons, it is unlikely we could sustain coverage with plain-clothes detectives for gang and firearm violence occurring in the West Hill community after August. So additional coverage with another uniformed deputy later in the evening is paramount. The new schedule allows the storefront deputy to work later (10:00 PM) five days a week. In addition that position can be “flexed” four hours either way. So if the need arises, the deputy can come in at 10:00 AM or work until 2:00 AM in the morning, for example on Friday and Saturday nights. (Actually having more deputies working later was a suggestion from one of our West Hill Deputies.)

Therefore, both storefront deputies were told they would be working five days per week, 8 hours per day, on 2nd shift, which is 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and affords Friday and Saturday coverage nine months of the year.

As Sheriff, I remain committed to the White Center and West Hill communities and doing what is best for that neighborhood and all neighborhoods where we offer police services.

Sheriff John Urquhart

Major Wills explained, “I regret to have to share the message from Sheriff Urquhart via email, but since there has been a transition of our White Center storefront deputy I felt I needed to get the word out as soon as possible. The immediate impact to this operational change means that neither the White Center or West Hill communities will have an assigned storefront deputy. I am hopeful that we will be able to identify a deputy for each community and the absence of your storefront deputy will only be temporary, but for now we will not have a deputy assigned to either community.

“I look forward to meeting with your community very soon and hope that we can work together to select your next deputy. In the meantime, please continue your vigilance against crime by calling 9-1-1 for emergencies and suspicious circumstances, and if you should have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email either Captain Ted Boe or I.”

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Spoke & Food tonight: Take a bike ride to dinner

July 29th, 2014 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center news Comments Off

Tonight’s the annual Spoke & Food dining-out benefit – participating restaurants are donating part of tonight’s dinner proceeds, and will be especially happy to see you arrive on two wheels! In White Center, Proletariat Pizza is on the list; in West Seattle, it’s Marination ma kai. See the full participant list here.

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Dates set for SW Roxbury safety-plan meetings

July 21st, 2014 Tracy Posted in safety, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off

Two meetings are set for the Seattle Department of Transportation to go public with how Roxbury might be made safer – dating back to the joint call a year ago by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. SDOT has announced two meetings at which it plans to show “several different engineering options to improve safety for all modes.” The first one is on the West Seattle side, Thursday, July 31st, 6 pm at Southwest Branch Library. Second one is on the White Center side, Monday, August 4th, 6 pm at the Greenbridge YWCA.The project’s official page is here; check out the maps linked from the left side, including this one showing speeds, volumes, and intersections with the most crashes.

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