New Seawall for Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook in 2015?

Plans are being finalized for a badly needed revamp for the deteriorating section of seawall at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook. Rebecca Rufin, PE Parks Engineering Manager was kind enough to reply to Beach Drive Blog’s email inquiry on any future plans to shore up the south portion of the vulnerable seawall.

Currently the US Army Corps of Engineers, with whom we have partnered under a preliminary federal grant program, is putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive study of a seawall replacement proposal.  The study includes analysis of several design options and establishes a preferred approach based on economic, environmental, and other factors.  When the study is complete, it will be sent to the federal offices in Washington DC for final approval and funding.

Assuming it is approved, the preferred design will essentially build a new seawall in front of the existing one, which will be left in place.  The new seawall will be a bit higher.  This would result in a park area adjacent to the street that will be a few feet wider and significantly more level, making it much more amenable for walking trail, landscape elements, and benches. 

As for schedule, we do not anticipate project approval to proceed until sometime this summer.  Detailed design would then commence, with construction likely the summer of 2015.

All the above is subject to change, but it’s the most likely scenario at this time.

 

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Did I also mention this beauty sits on a fault line?!

 

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Imagine a another 10+ feet of level park grass.

 

City and County officials have been eying the need to fix/repair this critical section of bulkhead for nearly a decade. The West Seattle Herald reported back in 2006 about fears of an environmental disaster if something wasn’t done soon. Quoting Les Soule, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

“If there is a major storm, there could be a loss of a portion of the seawall,” he said. “We would sure lose the 54-inch sewer main.”

The same article went on to quote Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin, who served as the chairman of the City Council’s Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee back in ’06…

“The danger of catastrophic failure is real, which is why we are taking it up as an emergency preparedness mitigation project,” Conlin wrote in an e-mail response to questions. “It did fail to the north of this project site in 1998 during a winter storm.”

The sewer line behind the seawall carries about 50 million gallons of sewage a day northward along Beach Drive on its way to the West Point sewage treatment plant, Conlin said.

 

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The following year, this Statement of Intent was entered:

 

 

Emma Schmitz Memorial Park-Seawall Repair

(SLI 122-1-A-2)

Statement of Legislative Intent: No later than June 15, 2007, the Department of Parks and Recreation will report to the Council Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee on updated cost estimates and methods, a cost sharing plan and a timeline for repair of the Emma Schmitz Memorial Park Seawall. The Department will work with the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Office of Emergency Management and King County Metro in developing the cost estimates and plans. The Department is also requested to contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to see if they are able to reinitiate funding for the project.

Responsible Council Committee(s): Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Date Due to Council: June 15, 2007

I hope our tax dollars get put to work on this over-due project before a new wave of storms slam into the seawall.

Hat tip to neighbor Ed for alerting us that something was brewing at the park. His request for donating a park bench for dear friends that have recently passed is being delayed until the Seattle Parks Dept get a clearer picture of pending construction.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

*A case study published in 2008 by a UW student “Planning for Sea Level Rise in Seattle, Washington“ centered it’s attention to replacement of the Emma Schmitz seawall. (I know all of you must be eager to hear my book report on it:))

Tall ship riding the out going tide & the pic of the week

Caught up with the Hawaiian Chieftain square rigger on it’s way from Port Orchard to Kirkland where she’ll be fixing her canons on the Lady Washington! Carillon Point Marina will host the two traditional sailing vessels for mock battles and ship tours thru Sept 2nd.

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And here is our pic of the week taken by Ron Sterling across the street from Lowman Beach. The controversial Murray CSO Control Facility is in full swing…

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 Say goodbye to this 1926 duplex and the other long-standing houses along the strip.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog 

 

 

 

Don’t be Alarmed! Last Resort Fire Dept. just chill’n at Mee-Kwa-Mooks

Vintage fire trucks and crew take some time to relax after cruising the West Seattle parade earlier today…

Getting ready for the fireworks show at 10PM tonight?

 

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Low Tides uncover cool West Seattle history

 

With much of our industrial history only dating back a hundred years or so, the lowest tides of the season still show-off West Seattle’s colorful past.  Today’s low tide of -3.7 was about as low as we’re going to see this year so I figured a walk around the point was in order. The first stop was checking out the pilings rearing their worn heads from the early 1900′s off of Weather Watch Park at Carroll Street SW.

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Some of the only history I’ve been able to find about the old pier is the verbal account of Ada Hallberg  published in the newsletter Footprints of the SSWHS

There was a pier at Carroll St. in the early 1900’s; it was a regular port of call for the little steamer Eagle, which carried passengers to several ports on the Sound, including this little village of South Alki. Villagers would gather here when the steamer docked to meet the passengers. It was a time that neighbors met to greet each other and to visit with each other whether they expected a passenger or not. It was a gathering place for people whose homes were a considerable distance from each other.

The only other evidence of a substantial pier existing at this location is from a USCG chart dated 1918. I have inquiries into the Log House Museum as well as the Puget Sound Maritime Museum for any vintage photos showing this location was a launch (40ft or less) for Mosquito fleet steamers. The steamer Eagle was reported to have burnt & sunk in it’s home port of Winslow in the Spring of 1903. Many blamed the misfortune on an improper christening!  NOT THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FISHING HOLES but I can personally attest to the unusual deep underwater ravine located just off the park…

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Next stop is some submerged pilings found on the south-end of Alki Beach. This was the southern stretch of several piers along Alki Beach…

 

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Photo courtesy of BDB’s Rhonda Porter

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This Seattle Archived photo 1936 shows the pier off in the distance.

Third stop is the site of the biggest, most bestest amusement park west of Chicago

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A shot of the pier and support pilings of Luna Park & a protected niche for repairing halibut fishing boats 

Fourth point of interest was the dawning of of Seattle’s first regular ferry service (outside the Mosquito fleet) near what is now Seacrest Park. An excerpt from History Link

The company built a dock near today’s Seacrest Marina and began offering regular service to downtown Seattle on a steam-powered sidewheeler named the City of Seattle, the first bona fide ferry on Puget Sound, launched December 24, 1888. The crossing took eight minutes. One hundred and thirteen years, ten bridges, and tens of millions of dollars later, the City of Seattle still holds the record for the fastest trip between Seattle and West Seattle.

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Finally, I wonder where these tracks and ramps led to…

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Davy’s Locker perhaps???

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Beach Drive Arial Photos from 1937!

Was your home still a vacant lot in 1937? You can search King County Map Vault by Section Township Range to see how your lot appeared “back in the day”. Use this reference photo to locate your particular map section…

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Jacobson Rd is located in Section 22. Lowman Cove is shared in both 27 & 26

Here’s an example of how present day Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park appeared back when it was occupied by West Seattle pioneers Ferdinand & Emma Schmitz…

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very Low and High Tides

We are experiencing some of the lowest tides of the year this Memorial Day weekend.

Today, Sunday, May 26:

  • -3.6 at 12:23 pm
  • 12.25 at 7:40 pm

Memorial Day, Monday, May 27:

  • 6.41 at 1:09 am
  • 11.06 at 6:09 am
  • -3.4 at 1:11 pm
  • 12.36 at 8:29 pm

You can meet beach naturalist from the Seattle Aquarium (they’ll be wearing red hats) at Constellation Park or Lincoln Park today and tomorrow from:

  • Sunday, May 26: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
  • Monday, May 27: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Happy Memorial Day!

Spring seal pup beached near sidewalk at Emma Schmitz Viewpoint

A Beach Drive resident & his dog kept a tight perimeter around the site of a snoozing young seal pup this morning. He quickly acted on the situation by alerting Seal Sitters which he happened to volunteer with in a prior year.

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Gordon with his Collie named Sophie coordinate with Seal Sitter volunteer
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Pup worked it’s way up sliver of beach
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Stairs to lower section of Emma Schmitz closed off ’till momma fetches her pup!

 

Updated Information!

Hi Rhonda,

Thanks so much for the coverage of seal pup Shamrock at Emma Schmitz yesterday. However, I thought your readers would want to know that all harbor seal pups right now are weaned and anywhere from 6-8 months old. There are no pups waiting for mom to come back for them as reported in the post. :-)

Harbor seal pupping season is late June – September in Puget Sound. Seal pupping season will be beginning, however, shortly on the outer coast of Washington and Oregon. Here is a link to a map that shows months pupping seasons in the various regions of Washington State:

PuppingTimeframeWA
PuppingTimeframeWA

All the best,

Robin Lindsey

robinlindseyphotography.com sealsitters.org blubberblog.org

co-author of the children’s book about seal pups, Leopard and Silkie

Scupper reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Great day for a beach cleanup

 A dozen or so folks from a young organization named Operation Sound Beach stormed public beaches along Beach Drive this afternoon.  The group is centered out of Snohomish County and mentioned that this is as far south as they’ve been… so far.  If you happen to pass by them this afternoon, please give them your appreciation for the fine volunteer work!

Operation Sound Beach is a citizen-volunteer task force founded and based with the objective of maintaining the purity, cleanliness and uninterrupted beauty of our beaches up and down the Puget Sound coast line. We are not affiliated with any political or religious agenda. We do not hold restrictions over volunteer membership. We are simply Puget Sound citizens taking care of our beloved Puget Sound communities. Long Live Sound Beach!

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OSB tackles the beach at Emma Schmitz Overlook. Thanks!!

Scupper reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Watch for spectacular “spray” tomorrow on Beach Drive

Mother Nature’s elements are lining up for quite the show after mid-night tonight & through Friday afternoon. A marine forecast calling for near gale force winds combined with tides ranging from 6 to 10 feet is the recipe for huge spray coming off Beach Drive bulkheads. Unlike last December’s storm which flooded several homes along the coastline, tomorrow’s tides are several feet lower.

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Photo compliments of David Rosen from last December’s big storm

Great spots to get wet include Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and Charles Richey Sr View Point (Constellation Park).

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Last Nights Low Tide Beach Walk

Last night there were dozens of flashlights and giggling children of all ages participating in Seattle Aquariums night time beach walk.  

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Scupper Sr. interviewed a representative from the Seattle Aquarium about the late night exploration off the shores of Beach Drive.

Here’s more from West Seattle Herald.