Category Archives: Health and Safety

Sound Transit continuing work to fill “voids” near Beacon Hill Station

Many neighbors living east of Beacon Hill Station received a flyer (PDF) from Sound Transit this evening, describing the current status of the “voids” discovered when digging the Beacon Hill tunnel. Last year, nine sub-surface voids were found and filled with a controlled-density fill, and the ground at the bottom of the voids was injected with grout to stabilize it.

According to the alert sent out by Sound Transit today, there are still about 400 cubic yards that need filling, but the voids aren’t large or near the surface, and Sound Transit believes that there is no imminent danger to property nearby.

Sound Transit’s next steps are to work with local property owners and their neighbors to coordinate work to fill the voids. They expect the project will take about four to six months.

A Seattle Times (BHB partners) article contains further information on the project, including a very good description of how the voids are formed.

Graffiti clean-up, reporting tips and you

Report graffiti, phone 206-684-7587
Report graffiti by phone or online

Seattle Public Utilities hosts a Graffiti Prevention & Removal site that includes instructions on reporting graffiti (by phone or online), tips on removing graffiti, volunteering on a “Red Wagon Program” neighborhood graffiti clean-up and paint-out crew (for which free supplies are available from the city), waivers for private property owners (PDF) to receive Red Wagon graffiti removal, and numerous additional tips to prevent graffiti.

We’re working with our neighborhood news partners through the Seattle Times to find out more about graffiti issues around Beacon Hill and the rest of the city, and we’d like your input.

  • Where do you find graffiti to commonly be a problem on the Hill?
  • Have you volunteered on a Red Wagon patrol?
  • Do you have an experience dealing with graffiti you’d like to share?
  • Have you found the police to be responsive to reports of vandalism in-progress?
  • Do you know what gangs are tagging in your area?
  • Is there more that the city should do to combat and clean up graffiti?

We’d love to pass along your comments, tips, and questions. Thank you!

The city has a Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance that requires property owners to remove graffiti in a timely manner or be subject to fines. If your property is vandalized by graffiti, take photos before removing it and make a police report to (206) 625-5011. The photos may be useful for the police to track gangs and for insurance reimbursement purposes. SPU has a “Paint it out” PDF brochure with information to print and keep for reference.

Some of SPU’s tips include:

  • Install motion-sensor lighting.
  • Grow vines or vegetation to cover unpainted retaining walls.
  • Install a graffiti-resistant coating on your walls.
  • Keep matching paint on hand to quickly paint out graffiti.
  • Install cameras to monitor activity on your property.

Thanks to Christine Cole who shared the SPU link with the BAN list a week or two ago.

Walking with Tica: Andy Rooney edition

Photo by Dru Bloomfield (CC).
(For all you youngsters out there, Andy Rooney is a commentator on 60 Minutes.)

Hey Beacon Hill drivers: what’s the rush? I’ve been walking these streets for six years, enjoying the peaceful community, friendly neighbors, and quiet streets. Something changed lately… the streets are not as quiet.  Maybe the construction traffic for Sound Transit slowed traffic on McClellan, and now people are back to their Speed Racer habits.  It’s not just arterials, though.  Folks are flying down side streets, too.  My older dog and increasing belly are slow—is there some reason we should hurry?

Is your kid late enough to school that you need to rush a pregnant woman crossing 23rd? Did you forget to Tivo your soap opera, making it necessary to drive 40mph down 20th, narrowly avoiding parked cars and cats dashing across the street?  Is there any reason you absolutely must turn right on red as that senior citizen loaded with groceries is making his way across Beacon?

Unless you have flashing lights to go on top of your car or are driving someone to the hospital—SLOW DOWN!  Per SDOT: In Seattle, the speed limit on residential streets is 25 mph and 30 mph on arterial streets unless otherwise posted. Drivers are expected to know and obey the speed limit.

Pedestrians (and our pooches, strollers, toddlers) have right of way. Stop, look, and wait for pedestrians at intersections. Perhaps you could use that 20 seconds to meditate… or maybe you could hang up your cell phone, put down your sandwich, and remember that you’re in a metal cage capable of killing someone.

Other Andy Rooney editions that probably won’t be posted in the blog:

Why do teenagers text while crossing the road?

Is it too much to ask for people to pick up after their dogs?

You darn kids get off my lawn!

Crime notes: Tips, burglaries, and more tips

Map of selected items from V - Vehicle thefts and break-ins, B - Burglaries, R - Robberies, S - Shots fired, O - Other.

Selected scanner items from
1/13 10:30pm — Burglary: 22nd and Kenny
1/14 1:30pm — Burglary: 35th and Graham
1/15 7:15pm — Vehicle Theft: 15th and Lucile
1/18 3:00pm — Vehicle Break-in: 12th and Atlantic
1/25 9:30pm — Shooting / Weapons: 12th and Atlantic
1/27 1:45pm — Robbery: Beacon and Alaska
1/29 10:30am — Other: 32nd and Myrtle
1/29 12:30pm — Other: 13th and Atlantic
1/31 5:30pm — Vehicle Theft: Beacon and Morgan
2/1 3:45pm — Robbery: Beacon and Brandon
2/4 1:15pm — Vehicle Break-in: Beacon and Horton
2/5 2:30pm — Vehicle Break-in: 17th and Plum

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Collen wrote to the mailing list about a daytime break-in on January 21st at 18th and College where they smashed the bathroom window and took a computer, several iPods, and a camera. He also mentioned that his girlfriend’s car window was smashed a few nights later nearby.

* * *

John Wright also wrote to the list about a car theft and recovery:

Just wanted to let you know that my friend’s car was stolen on Saturday, 1/23, between 10:30 p.m. and Midnight. It was a red 1998 Honda Civic 4-door. It was parked on 17th Ave S near Holgate. We didn’t hear anything, and our dogs (who bark at just about everything) did not make a peep.

It was recovered Sunday morning in the Bryn Mawr area of Renton. It was sitting in a ditch, stereo stolen, steering console trashed, windows open. Rear passenger door was tagged on the inside with a gang sign. They stole the De La Soul CD, but left behind the Nirvana and Nada Surf. 🙂

* * *

From‘s Robbery Round-up:

January 15th, South Seattle: A man ran inside Cleveland High School and told officers working off-duty at a basketball game that he’d been carjacked at gun point. The man told police he was parked outside the school’s gym when two other men approached him, put a gun to his head and demanded his vehicle. The report says the victim told the robbers “he was ready to die” and to “go ahead and shoot if he was going to kill him.” The victim eventually handed over the car and the suspects drove off.

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After the jump, two lists of very good advice from Felicia and Craig via the mailing list.
Continue reading Crime notes: Tips, burglaries, and more tips

Pedestrian-injuring Corvette driver charged

An update on Saturday’s injury accident along Columbian way from The Seattle Times:

A 50-year-old driver accused of injuring a man and his son, resulting in the younger man losing part of his leg, in a crash on Beacon Hill Saturday night was charged today with two counts of vehicular assault.

Rodney James allegedly had a breath alcohol content of 0.16, twice the legal limit, according to charging papers filed in King County Superior Court. Police say that James was speeding east in the 1700 block of South Columbian Way when he lost control of his 1998 Corvette. The sports car slid across a sidewalk, into a driveway and into Wah Wong and his son who were standing, court papers said.

Injured were Wah Wong, 67, and Jason Wong, 22. Salina Wong, Wah Wong’s 60-year-old wife, was injured after James’ car struck a car she was sitting in, charging papers said.

Read more in The Times.

Update: Wah Wong runs the Jade West Cafe in West Seattle, and the West Seattle Blog has been covering the situation at the cafe with the Wongs currently at Harborview hospital. I’d like to add our wishes for a speedy recovery. Thanks, Tracy!

Two pedestrians injured in accident along Columbian Way

SPD Blotter has the report of an injury accident yesterday evening along Columbian Way:

On December 12th at approximately 7:08 pm, a 1998 black Chevy Corvette was travelling eastbound in the 1700 Block of South Columbian Way when the Corvette veered off the street and onto the driveway/front yard of a house and struck two pedestrians. The two people were standing at the back of their parked car unloading luggage from the trunk. The Corvette struck the two individuals with the front of the car, pinning the two people between the two cars momentarily before bouncing off and coming to a rest facing westbound. The pedestrians each suffered serious injuries to their legs and were transported to the hospital for treatment. The driver of the Corvette was evaulated at the scene for possible signs of impairment/intoxication. The 50-year old driver of the Corvette was arrested and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Vehicular Assault. The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) responded to the scene and conducted the investigation.

The Seattle P-I‘s Casey McNerthney tweeted a photo from the scene.

Be careful in the cold

Frost coated vegetables in a North Beacon vegetable garden a few days ago. Photo by Jason.
Frost coated vegetables in a North Beacon vegetable garden a few days ago. Photo by Jason.
There is not too much frost on the streets at the moment. According to local weather guru Cliff Mass, the dew point for the last couple of days has been so low that frost cannot form. If that changes, however, frost on the roads can lead to very dangerous black ice. Mass says, “Never forget, roadway icing is the number one weather killer in our area. More than floods, more than windstorms.” On Friday, black ice contributed to a vehicle collision in Mid-Beacon Hill that caused the death of an elderly woman.

There are a few places on Beacon Hill that can be slick even in frostless conditions such as we have today: for example, on South Massachusetts Street just east of 17th Avenue South, where there is what seems to be a permanent water leak wetting the road. Later this week, the precipitation will return, and there could be ice—or even snow—to contend with. Please be careful when navigating the streets and sidewalks of our hilly neighborhood.

360 days ago, the snow began to fall. Beacon Avenue looked like this the next morning. Photo by Ali R.
360 days ago, the snow began to fall. Beacon Avenue looked like this the next morning. Photo by Ali R.

Thanks to JvA for the reminder.

Walking with Tica: Crime and safety edition

Neighbors walking their dogs can be helpful as a crime watch force in the neighborhood. Photo by melanie b.
Neighbors walking their dogs can be helpful as a crime watch force in the neighborhood. Photo by melanie b.
Like most of you, I’ve been following the posts and news stories about break-ins, robberies, car prowls, and other crimes in and around our neighborhood.  One of our close neighbors had their car window smashed in a few weeks ago—and none of us heard a thing.  I try to balance between wariness and paranoia, common sense and complacency.  Mostly, I try to focus on what I can do to keep our community as safe as possible.

Many people travel during December, leaving their homes for a few days or weeks.  I encourage you to consider a safety plan for your home while making your travel plans.   Here are a couple of sites with basic safety/crime prevention tips, and here’s my list:

  • Inform your immediate neighbors that you’re going to be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your car and the exterior of your house.
  • Lock everything—windows, doors, sheds/garages, cars.
  • Leave keys (house and car) with at least one trusted neighbor, along with local emergency contacts and a way to reach you while you’re gone.
  • For short trips, ask someone to check your mail—just so that there’s foot traffic up and down your porch and to prevent possible mail/identity theft.
  • Ask someone to brush leaves/snow off your car or to keep an eye on your garage.
  • For longer trips, either put a hold on mail and paper delivery or ask someone to pick up daily (same with the promotional materials people leave on doorknobs, yellow page books, and other deliveries).
  • Keep things normal: consider putting a couple of lamps on a timer; if you have holiday lights or use exterior lights, put them on a timer, too; ask someone to bring trash/recycle/yard waste cans to the curb and back.
  • If you’re planning to be away for more than a few days, consider asking someone to come in and check on your house. There are some very responsible teenagers in our neighborhood.
  • Find someone you trust to stay in your house.  Check references and have your neighbors check in on this person.
  • If you have pets, you’ll need to take them into consideration as well; these tips are for property safety only.  Special considerations for pets: let your vet know you’re traveling and leave a check or credit card number with them in case of emergency; make sure your pet-sitter has access to travel carriers and driving directions to the emergency clinic; keep copies of pet license numbers and/or microchip numbers current.

Our entire community is safer when we get to know each other.  Offer to help your neighbors, and ask for help.  Bring in the trash cans for an elderly neighbor, deliver cookies to a newcomer, and talk to people when you see them outside.   If you see something suspicious or have concerns, share them—not just with the neighborhood mailing list or the blog, but with the household involved.

Those of us with dogs spend a lot more time on the sidewalk than most people—especially now that it’s dark earlier and the weather isn’t welcoming for an after-dinner stroll.  Tica and I are both very aware of the patterns of our neighborhood: what kind of cars people drive, when folks are home, new neighbors… and of course, who has dogs and what time they’re out.  We know most of the regulars out walking at various times. I feel like I could reliably identify someone who was out of place, and I’m confident I would notice someone suspicious loading your TV into a van.

Tica and I are a great team to enlist for help watching your house.  Your block probably has a few dogs out every night for a constitutional—do you know them?  They’re potential allies.  The missing piece is knowing how to reach you if there is a problem. Does your next door neighbor have a cell number for you while you’re on vacation?

Wishing everyone a safe, warm winter—at home or away!

Crime notes: Safety tips, more burglaries, and doorbell-ringers

Chris Lew forwarded some helpful crime tips:

Hi Neighbors,

There is a concern amongst neighbors regarding crime in the area. In the past month, a couple houses have been broken into. We would just like to share some ideas on keeping each other safe.

Package and mail theft
It’s the holiday season and packages on your door are a target. If you can, have packages sent to your workplace. Or tell UPS and Fedex not to leave packages. You may want to consider leaving a note at your door that packages should be held and picked up at their station.

If your mail is stolen, it is a federal crime. Please report it to the post office.

Suspicious activity
There are reports of people that look out of place, looking in people’s houses or yards. A couple weeks ago some homeless people were caught breaking in around Swift Avenue. There are homeless encampments in the greenbelt areas.

Depending on the situation, suspicious activity can be reported to 911 for emergencies or 206-625-5011 for the non-emergency police line.

Door-to-door sales
There has also been an increase of solicitors. They may say they are selling newspaper subscriptions or funding neighborhood clean up efforts. Ask for ID, literature and/or a receipt. Don’t be fooled by a name. Some people use sympathetic sounding names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, well-established charities.

The best policy is to donate directly through an organization’s website. Know a charity before you give. Check them out on the BBB.

We need to show that we’re watching the neighborhood. One thing I do is to take pictures. If you see something, take a photo on your camera or phone. Do it with suspicious cars (try to include the license plate) as well as people. (In fact, I’ll try to keep my camera near the door in case the doorbell rings.) Even if it’s not museum quality, the photo could be useful, after the fact, since it will give an indication of time and location. Remember, that anything out in the public can be photographed. But you cannot shoot inside people’s homes without their permission, as they have a reasonable expectation of privacy according to law.

Please pass this info to your neighbors.

Chris provided a PDF version of these tips from BHNW as well.

Thanks, Chris!

* * *

Select items from the BHNW scanner blotter:

  • 11/19 1:45pm Vehicle break-in near 15th and Hanford
  • 11/19 9:15pm Burglary victims identified suspects near Spokane and Beacon, threats exchanged
  • 11/20 1:30pm Two men casing houses, looking in windows near 13th and Nevada
  • 11/21 12:15pm Burglary near 39th and Rose
  • 11/22 10:45am Stolen vehicle found near Beacon and Ferdinand
  • 11/22 1:15pm Burglary near Beacon and Brandon
  • 11/23 9:00pm Doorbell ringer ran when resident answered door near 15th and Massachusetts
  • 11/23 9:15pm Vehicle lost control while being pushed near 19th and Bayview

And some reports from the BAN and Beacon Hill mailing lists:

  • Vehicle break-in near 19th and College, some time between 6:30 and 10:30pm, 11/23. North Face jacket and backpack stolen.
  • Vehicle break-in near 20th and Bayview some time after 9pm, 11/23.
  • Burglary near 19th and Hill around 10am, 11/23.
  • The fellow from 9pm on 11/23 was also seen near 15th and State an hour earlier.

Thanks to the BHNW volunteers and everyone on the mailing lists!

Jungle cleanup, sidewalk flooding, and overserving among topics on the BAN list

The Beacon Hill Alliance of Neighbors (BAN) mailing list has been quite active recently, and Travis Mayfield has been all over it for KOMO:

  • Update: Inside the Jungle — Craig Thompson details a recent excursion into the homeless encampment that runs along the west and north sides of the hill, alongside I-5 and I-90.
  • Sidewalk ‘Pools’ Raise Pedestrian Complaints — Complaints of flooded and obstructed sidewalks are addressed by neighborhood representative Steve Louie and City Councilmember Sally Clark.
  • Responding to Public Drunkeness — Tips on reporting “overserving” to the Washington State Liquor Control Board when observing evidence of public drunkeness.

Sign up for the BAN list at