Scupper on the trail of the Polar Pioneer oil rig

Our intrepid reporter, Scupper, Captain of S/V Pointless, is currently on trail of the Polar Pioneer.

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Shell’s controversial oil rig is en route to Terminal 5 in West Seattle.

Stay tuned for more pictures from Captain Scupper as I will continue to update this post with photos as I receive them.

UPDATE 2:28 PM:  You can barely see West Seattle in the background as the Polar Pioneer makes her way closer to Terminal 5.

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Captain Scupper says, “There goes the neighborhood.”

UPDATE 2:39 PM:

Captain Scupper of S/V Pointless has just sent in this picture of the Polar Pioneer with Seattle in the distance.

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Along with this close up photo taken of the oil rig from the deck of Pointless.

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Captain Scupper does not see any kayakers from Portland…yet…

UPDATE 2:47 PM:

Captain Scupper has just sent a bunch more photos… they are all starting to look the same to me. Here’s a nice one of the Polar Pioneer posing in front of the Seattle skyline.

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UPDATE 3:05 PM:

Captain Scupper thinks he heard over the VHF that the Polar Pioneer is going to start drilling at this spot in Elliott Bay!

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John C. Stennis CVN 74 returning home

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Just another day in the life of living on Beach Drive…

…actually, in the ten years we’ve lived on Beach Drive…this has to the first time I’ve seen this!

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It appears to be a photo shoot. I can barely make out the name on the back of the boat “Endurance” with a couple letters following. Any more info on this? I love it when Delta Marine test drives their mega-yachts in our back yard… Endurance  looks like it could a model from Hampton Yachts?

Awoken by a barking sea lion…low flying helicopter over a motorboat… just a typical week! 😉

Waking up to the beautiful sounds of a…

2015-04-15_0730…barking Sea Lion! This morning around 5:30 am, our household was jolted awake by the song of very loud sea lion. As I write this post, he (or she) is currently barking it up in front of Emma Schmitz View Point – enjoy!

 

Unusual carcass washes up on Beach Drive shore

A local neighbor reported this washed up shark carcass to Washington Fish & Wildlife late this morning while walking his dog along Emma Schmitz Viewpoint…

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Beach Drive resident Mark Snyder spotted the nearly 6 foot hulk after peering over the edge of the seawall to see what all the bird racket was about.

A spokesperson from WSFW believed that it may be related to a species of Thresher shark they’ve been seeing due to the warmer than usual waters off the coast. She also mentioned that ocean going ships will often snag an animal from distant waters and deposit them on inland shores as they reduce speed. A Wildlife boat has been dispatched for tomorrow morning to drag the shark back to the Armeni ramp for proper disposal.

Mark is often seen sail boarding on the windiest of days around here and told us that “this will definitely make me better at my sport, I’d hate to fall out there and meet one of these guys!”

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

It’s a great day for a regatta

I am guessing this sail boat race is the Corinthian Yacht Club  South Sound Series, just passing Lincoln Park and heading to Three Tree Point. If you know differently, please chime in!

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Routine maintenance on Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook sea wall

A Seattle Park & Rec crew performed some routine and temporary repairs today along the aging sea wall.

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Winter storms and runoff has caused erosion in several areas behind the 1927 wall… and in front of the 54″ sewer main where the crew will back-fill with gravel.

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The permanent fix is still in the paper stage with the Seattle division of Army Corp of Engineers.  I’m waiting for a response regarding any progress and will report on any new developments.

UPDATE: 1:32 PM

Melissa Leslie of the US Army Corps of Engineers informed me that there are no updates at this time.

The feasibility report is still under review at our Division office. Once the project is approved we will then start the design phase to reach 100% design. Seattle Parks is probably just be conducting maintenance at this time.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Woman’s Body recovered off Emma Schmitz View Point

IMG_37217:05 am. A major response from the Seattle Fire Department is taking place right now for what is being called a “salt water rescue” off of SW Oregon Street and Beach Drive.

Scupper is on the scene. We should have more information soon.

UPDATE 7:06 AM: Very sad news, West Seattle Blog reports that a body has been recovered.

UPDATE: 7:17 AM: A Beach Drive neighbor out on a routine walk saw the body and went to another neighbors home for help and to call 9-1-1. The body was found at the lower section of Emma Schmitz by the south flight of stairs.

Scanners report that it is a woman. News crews are on the scene and the coroner is in route.
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UPDATE 8:39 AM: According to West Seattle Blog:

“SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb has briefed us. This is NOT currently being investigated as a homicide, but is considered a “suspicious death,” so SPD is investigating with the Medical Examiner, which has a crew on scene. The woman is believed to be in her 50s but that is just a guess so far – apparently no ID on her…”

UPDATE 8:54 AM: Speculators on the scene believe the deceased woman, who is described as having a heavy build and grey hair, was not in the water for long. We are told that attempts were made to resuscitate her.

UPDATE January 11, 2015: The woman has been identified as Carolyn Arnold. No other information is known at this time.

Official News Release regarding popular Beach Drive seawall project

Hot off the press from the Seattle Division of US Army Corp of Engineers:

SEATTLE – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has partnered with the Seattle Parks and Recreation to design and implement a coastal storm damage reduction project under Section 103 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1962, as amended. The public comment period for this project runs through Dec. 31.

Emma Schmitz Overlook is located at 4503 Beach Drive SW, south of Alki Point in Seattle. The site includes a seawall built around 1927 that has deteriorated over time. Currently coastal storms and erosion threaten public infrastructure located in and around the seawall, including a 54-inch King County sewer main, a major public arterial, city park property and other underground utilities. The recommended plan includes construction of a soldier pile seawall parallel to the shoreline throughout the study area. The new seawall would be a few feet higher and seaward of the existing seawall. This would provide protection against damages caused by coastal storm events that occur in Puget Sound.

In 1998, the City of Seattle was prompted to take emergency action to stabilize the shoreline to the north of the proposed federal project when storm waves resulted in the failure of a similar section of existing seawall and subsequent erosion of shoreline protection that threatened utilities, roadways, and public lands. The city completed permanent emergency repairs on this adjacent site, which is not included in the scope of the proposed Federal project.

The recommended plan was chosen because it has the least environmental impacts, cost the least cost and meets all project purposes. Coordination with resource agencies and federal tribes is ongoing and preliminary indications expect a concurrence with the project.

The implementation cost of the recommended plan is estimated to be $2.29 million and will be cost-shared 65 percent federal ($1,488,000) and 35 percent non-federal ($801,000). The non-federal sponsor, Seattle Parks and Recreation, is responsible for all lands, easements, right-of-ways, relocations, and/or disposal areas which are controlled by the sponsor. Economic analysis suggests the project could prevent millions of dollars of physical and non-physical damages, resulting in a favorable benefit-cost ratio.

Submit comments to this office, Attn: Environmental and Cultural Resources Branch, no later than December 31, 2014 to ensure consideration. In addition to sending comments via mail, comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil. The Notice of Availability and Draft DPR/EA can be found at the following website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/EnvironmentalDocuments/2014EnvironmentalDocuments.aspx. Requests for additional information should be directed to Ms. Melissa Leslie at 206-764-6587, or the above e-mail address.
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Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)
http://www.nws.usace.army.mil

I would like to think that this project could grease the skids of King County in favor of Beach Drive residents considering to raise their own seawalls from events caused by global warming.

Historic1968 Emma Schmitz Park seawall circa 1968. Photo credit to City of Seattle archives

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Comment period open for Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall project

With an official press release due out as soon as this Monday, Beach Drive Blog has been notified by Seattle Parks and the Seattle District of the US Army Corp of Engineers that public comment is now open in regard to the pending seawall replacement for the southern section of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park. Public Comment closes December 31st 2014. Click here for the Public Notice. Comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil.

Tanya M King, Public Affairs Specialist with the Corp is very interested in being the single point of contact for any unofficial comments or concerns residents may have regarding the project. There are several different public entities within the immediate scope of the project (Seattle Parks, King County sewer and road, City of Seattle utilities & sidewalk, etc) and Tanya is committed to work with all jurisdictions to get your answers “it may take a day or two or even longer in some cases, but I will do my best to make life easier for residents looking for answers or expressing concerns”. Please see Tanya’s contact info at the bottom of post.

We wrote an article back in April when Becky Rufin, Parks Engineering Manager with Seattle Parks & Rec was kind enough to share the 64 page proposed plan for the new seawall. Per Becky’s email today…

If approved by the federal government, the Seattle Parks Department will be entering into a cost-sharing agreement for replacement of this aging structure. Project design and construction would actually be executed by USACE.
Please note there is currently a public review period open for the proposal, and comments must be received by December 31, 2014.

Beach Drive Blog asked Tanya to confirm a few specifics regarding the project. She responded before I could even finish the post!

How much taller will the new wall stand above the existing? 2 to 3 feet

Is any type of railing going to be installed? Too early to tell. Not to that level of design stage yet but it would be built low if built at all.

What if any new landscaping will there be? Would work with parks dept. but low native shrub/vegetation is what we’d expect in respecting neighbor’s views.

One new aspect to the plan is in respect of losing a few feet of public beach when the proposed wall is built in front of the old wall…

Due to the close proximity of the sewer main to the existing seawall structure, moving the alignment of the new seawall landward was assumed to increase the risks of potential failures during construction and significantly increase overall costs of the project. Therefore, the decision was made to move the alignment slightly waterward and mitigate for any nearshore (beach) area lost as a result of the project. A small amount (0.02 acres) of beach would be lost due to the footprint of the new seawall. To offset the loss of habitat, the project would reclaim adjacent beach habitat by removing a portion of riprap placed in the 1998 City of Seattle emergency repair. This entails lengthening the amount of seawall installed in order to stabilize the shoreline back to or near its pre- 1998 alignment and removing the waterward riprap and fill materials. The proposed ratio would be a 1:1 replacement as this habitat reclaims the lost habitat imposed by the new seawall and could begin to function immediately post-construction.

I think Emma herself would be pleased to know her overlook park could grow a little wider…

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This 1940’s photo shows Emma (on right) with her daughter-in-law Frankie posing beside the old family mansion that once stood where Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park is now. Courtesy of Bob Thomas who found the photo in an attic of a property he now owns.

Again, please contact Tanya for any unofficial (non-public) questions or concerns regarding this long overdue project,

Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)
http://www.nws.usace.army.mil 

 

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog