About Scupper

Killers chasing chum off of Beach Drive

Several onlookers lined the sidewalk along Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook watching a nearby Orca pod. The whales have been spotted all over the area for the last couple of days according to West Seattle Blog reports. The Orca are most likely chasing the large fall chum salmon run which contains nearly 90% of the entire annual chum numbers that migrate down to central & south Puget Sound.


It was also reported that The Whale Trail organization has spotted other aquatic species in the area as well.



Well, maybe not ALL of them…


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


Slow down with Proposition 1 …opinion

SDOT’s new levy project to move most of Seattle sounds like another great plan for West Seattle (remember the monorail Green Line?). Status quo with more bike lanes and speed enforcement is exactly what we need! Let’s take closer look at each enhancement…

Fauntleroy WayKey elements include paving, adding a protected bike lane, transit enhancements, and signal upgrades, improving safety and reliability for all travelers. Sounds terrific for Vashon Island comutters. How much $ are they contributing again??

Roxbury Street & 35th AveOver the last three years, 294 collisions, 128 injuries, and 2 fatalities have occurred. We are currently planning and designing near-term safety improvements paired with education and enforcement, working towards the city’s Vision. I believe a majority of these accidents occur from drivers slamming on their breaks trying to avoid the traffic-cop camera’s mailing out $190 tickets for doing 22 in a 20mph School Zone… when lights are flashing or children present or distracted by taking your eyes off the road to get a read on the myriad of signs designed to “educate us”.

SW Alaska Street:  The levy would provide funding to make safety improvements like redesigning the roadway. That’s an easy one. Just put the design back to where it was before adding the “bus only” & the staggered right turn only lane. Can you imagine being an out-of-towner trying to drive that stretch all the way to the junction?

Admiral Way: Project Goals

  • Encourage slower speeds  Tell that to the bikers doing 40 mph down the hill.
  • Reduce collisions  Collisions happen.
  • Accommodate existing maximum on-street parking occupancy There’s plenty of occupancy in motor homes & vans along Beach Drive.
  • Provide a comfortable and predictable bike connection between Alki and California Ave business district Why just bikes?

Here’s a more comprehensive plan that’s much more inclusive to our residents…



The rest of the levy just repairs what we already have at a cost of $275 per year per household (median household of 450K) as opposed to the $130 we’re currently paying with the Bridge the Gap levy.

I’m convinced that the rest of the city just believes we West Seattleites love a good parade and need to slow down. While crawling in traffic between Admiral & Fauntleroy junctions yesterday, I reminisced of escorting my HiYu princess along California Ave. I wanted to roll down my window and give the float wave to all the angry impatient drivers heading the other way.

If you ask me, the rest of the city better look out. Old timers tell us it only took 71 years to get the high level bridge over the Duwamish!

Seattleites endured in trying to secure a high-level bridge that would get them to and from “the mainland” without being held up by boat traffic along the Duwamish River.

West Seattleites began campaigning for the bridge in 1916 and at one point threatened to secede from the city if it didn’t deliver.

Thank goodness we now have the West Seattle Bridge. Where else can you sit in traffic all day, soak in the wonderful views and dream of the day Starbucks can land a 4th cup of jo on your car hood’s drone pad.

They first named Alki “little New York” when the city founders came ashore. Now with all the new high density residential buildings coming on-line, we are becoming the “little Manhattan Island” of Seattle and could use a transportation plan that helps us get around.


Scupper, blathering opinions on Beach Drive Blog (My wife, the blog boss, only allows me 1 opinion per year!)

C’mon baby douse my fire

Another type of vessel has been taking a spin on the popular Beach Drive test track. Joining Delta Marine and the WA State Ferries is a brand spanking new 108′ fire boat built by Foss Maritime & bound for the Port of Long Beach California. The super pumper named “Fire Boat 20” tested forward & reverse for most of the day along the drive this morning.

According to Pacific Maritime Magazine

The Long Beach pair each carry four Caterpillar 3512-C main engines, producing a total of more than 8,000 HP. Two engines are dedicated for pumping only, while two do double duty – propulsion and simultaneously adding more pumping power for a total of over 40,000 gpm. A pair of Cat C12 150-kW gensets provides the boats’ electric power. The largest monitor will be capable of delivering 12,000 gpm at a 600-foot range. The other nine monitors range from 1,500 to 6,000 gpm. Top speed is 12 knots – sufficient for a compact port like Long Beach. The low-wash speed is eight knots and on-site endurance is five days.


Being one of the most technically advanced emergency boats in the world, it even has systems that protects the firefighters from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. I looked into buying one to protect Beach Drive but couldn’t negotiate them down from the 25+ mil price tag!


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Bottom line: Plug your nose & talk to the State

In our continuing coverage regarding the foul Beach Drive bouquet, A small community meeting with representatives from King County Waste Water just adjourned from the sidewalk of 4700 Beach Drive SW. Armed with a color 4 page report regarding the soundness of their sewer, King County says it wasn’t them!

2015-09-30 16.13.00


Four leakage sensors were setup inside man-holes along the circa 1957 main line that runs along the drive…



With no solid evidence supporting sewage runoff as our culprit, the meeting turned into a “now what” conversation. An ecologist from the county recommended that neighbors start a permit process asap with Washington Fish & Wildlife for dealing with the next round of rotting sea lettuce. The permits apparently last five years. If  NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is correct, we could be literally blown out of our houses next summer! An article issued by King 5 back in July reported NOAA’s prediction for Seattle’s chances of continued warming…

SEATTLE – There’s a 90 percent chance El Nino will continue through this coming winter and an 80 percent chance it will extend to early spring 2016, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center reported Thursday.

The stench has been no stranger to the Fauntleroy Cove area where residents took action to remove the seaweed. The Seattle Times reported

When the problem last emerged in 1990, state officials attacked it by corralling the seaweed in nets and hauling it out into the sound, where it was dumped. They did this for three years at a cost of about $10,000 a year, then stopped. The problem abated until this summer, when average temperatures were three to four degrees above normal and the Puget Sound area saw more sunshine than usual.

A few residents present at the meeting showed interest in moving forward to find a solution. Maybe consulting with other neighborhoods that have or are currently dealing with this issue would be a good start. We did learn that Dumas Bay click here for their study & Shilshole Pt. were also plugging their collective noses and working on solutions.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog



1917 Atlas clearly shows Carroll Street Pier

I’ve been fascinated for years about the maritime history of Weather Watch Park. A plaque at the park describes how a long pier serviced passengers via the infamous Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet . In a blog post from 2013, we researched city/county archives & local museums looking for any photos or maps that would clearly establish the piers existence. There wasn’t much there except verbal accounts from a long time resident and a few vintage NOAA charts with a dark line jutting out.

I recently gave it another shot by emailing the Seattle Public Library’s at ASKspl.org (thanks Suky!). Within a day or so, I received an email with this 1917 Sanborn Atlas which clearly shows the area landmarks…

A close up look not only shows the named pier but also a small Public Comfort Station at the head of the dock! Following east along Carroll Street, you can see the old locations of the Alki Congregational Church & the Fire Dept/Hall across the north side of the street.


I just love this stuff.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

New stink to an old story?

EDITORS NOTE: Please scroll to the bottom of this post for an update.

Some new controversy is brewing in regard to the rotten egg-like stench we reported along parts of Beach Drive SW.  A neighbor in the 4600 block reportedly complained about the gaseous smell to a King County Wastewater representative and was told that the cause could possibly be related to a recent CSO (combined sewage overflow). At first flush, I would think they are referring to heavy rains we experienced on August 29th which pushed our monthly total far beyond the average.

Another concerned neighbor and I caught up with a KC Waste Water truck hanging out this morning at the base of Jacobson Street. The gentleman in the truck explained that he was tasked with installing sophisticated sensors at different points along the sewer line that would indicate any accidental sewage leaks. He went on to say that most complaints of the odor have been located between around LaRustica Restaurant and about the 5000 block of Beach Drive. Also checked out were the City of Seattle lines that run down Jacobson to the main county line. Where the two lines intersect create what’s called  the SW Alaska Street Seattle Combined Outfall which dumps out into the sound when the Alki overflow treatment plant becomes overwhelmed.



Incidentally, this particular outflow rarely overflows according to report studies (.1% yearly 1987-2007) however it is not uncommon to have some leaky-poos just north at the 63rd St & Alki outflows.



The CSO Status website used by recreational divers and beachcombers has been experiencing technical difficulties and is not showing any real time data for the outflow stations in the immediate area.

King County West Point Treatment is encouraging all residents along the drive to report any stink zones with the exact time they occur. This will go along ways to get to the messy bottom of the mystery. 24 hour odor hotline 206-263-3801

A meeting had been setup between representatives of King County Waste Water Treatment, concerned homeowners and local media for this Friday but has been temporarily postponed.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


UPDATE September 25, 2015: We received this email from a local resident:

Hi. Thought I would pass along some information about my morning’s experience regarding the odor on Beach Drive.

Last night when the odor intensified, I called the hotline you posted on the Blog (thanks for that information).  This morning around 11:30 a King County representative came to measure the levels of hydrogen sulfide, the likely gas causing the odor.  The couple of manholes out in front of the house had a zero reading for hydrogen sulfide.  At our deck, water side, the reading was .02.  At the bulk head, the reading was .14.  The rep said this was definitely abnormal and KC continues to be perplexed as to the cause but is actively investigating. 

He expected some public announcement next week on the status of the investigation.

Thanks again for the information on the Blog.  Helps to inform and connect us all.

Wooo weeeeee! “Fauntleroy stench” stink’n up the beaches

Don’t blame it on the dog or over clean the cat box. This mornings low tides and the lack of a good breeze is making it nearly unbearable around Beach Drive. Rotting seaweed or sea lettuce is busy emitting hydrogen sulfide into the air we breath.

The term “Fauntleroy stench” was coined back in the late 1980’s when the the cove and other areas around the sound experienced this same rotten egg sensation. The Seattle Times wrote an article about it during the hot summer 1998 when Fauntleroy residents were complaining of headaches and nausea due to the strong odors.

In small amounts, the gas can burn the eyes, nose and throat, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In moderate amounts, it can bring on headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and respiratory problems.

Contrary to what you might think, opening windows and doors while running fans is the best way to purge the scourge from your home.

Some experts believe that a mild winter combined with a prolonged hot summer is the yummy recipe to bring the stench. If that’s the case, next year could be a real duesey! I just think it smells like Labor Day.



Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

I’ll bet THEIR mellow was harshed!

As many of us were standing at the base of Mee-Kwa-Mooks park last night wondering why a dozen or so fire & rescue units (and more converging within a dog’s howl) were blocking Beach Drive SW, a group of kids were sitting around an illegal fire set 150 yards up the hill in the tinder dry forest.

IMG_4209This freshly created pit wasn’t here during the day yesterday

Can you imagine the scene?? Just sitting around the fire cracking a beer talking about a new carbon fiber hood or up-coming protests when… “are those sirens coming this way?”. Then justified paranoia sets in as the first responder slams on their brakes at the bottom of the hill with another dozen screaming on the way! I can picture the precious PBR’s being sacrificed to the fire in effort to calm the smoke not to mention the already drank ones puddling at their feet.


Last night’s onlookers watching responders searching the waters for false alarm parachuter

I’m pretty certain the kids were mingling with the crowd of on-lookers by this point and relieved that they weren’t “the incident”. There’s only a few really good stories friends get to share together. I’ll bet this is one counts.

All kidding aside though, the fire up in the park appears to have burnt all the way out. One spark the wrong way and we would’ve had a real situation. There was a pretty decent northerly blowing and several houses (friends) bordering the park in harms way.


The old illegal pit circled by the old Schmitz mansion’s concrete retaining wall blocks appears to have been put out of service by purposely fallen trees (what could possibly go wrong with that method?). The dead bush in the foreground is drier than an old Christmas tree in June.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Deflated birthday balloons causes massive response off Emma Schmitz memorial park

A rescue response of about two dozen vehicles and several coastguard/police boats converged along the shores of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook at around 10:00PM tonight. A witness called in what they thought was a parachuter dropping into the sound about 200 yards off the beach. After 40 minutes of searching, divers and boats at the scene radioed in a large bouquet of mylar balloons floating in the water. Surprise! Close to a hundred or so spectators lined the street to witness the non-event unfold.


A rescue diver assesses the theater…


It was actually nice to see a false alarm for once on this stretch a beach that’s witnessed it’s share of tragedies.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


Beach Drive home slips out at high tide last night

At about 2:35 AM this morning, 6021 Beach Drive SW was on it’s way to a new lot on Orcas Island in the San Juans. We spotted the tug with the circa 1926 home riding the out going tide past Alki just after 3:15AM. The previous owner was featured last night on the King 5 Evening News  explaining why she and her husband decided to wade through all the permitting hoopla to donate the 1040 square foot home to Opal Community Land Trust , a charitable organization that provides affordable housing on Orcas.

I wasn’t able to get any decent pictures of the home floating by but thought I could just make out Ringo fishing from the second floor window. Here’s some photos of the home via King County’s website…


Fair winds and following seas!


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog