I-90 traffic: One commute down
Thanks to all the early-risers, alternate-route takers and telecommuters, a construction-related traffic jam on I-90 never reached the horrendous levels that advance warnings had suggested. At 5:30 a.m., traffic began to back up on westbound lanes crossing Lake Washington and Mercer Island, growing to about three miles, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The traffic had pretty much cleared by 8:20 a.m. according to a Seattle Times report.
DOT spokesman Mike Allende speculated that people got on the road earlier, took alternate routes or just didn’t drive at all. But Allende hopes people don’t get too comfortable with today’s unexpectedly clear traffic, citing the “Viadoom” closure of Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2011 when traffic was light the first day but increased in severity each day, growing to its heaviest commute by the fourth day.
And tomorrow’s commute could be a lot worse, especially with President Obama coming to Seattle to fund raise for the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday. — J.B.
Wildfires: A little calmer for the moment
Fire crews took advantage of milder weather today, going on the offensive against what has become the largest wildfire recorded in Washington state history. But meteorologists warned that there was a higher chance of thunderstorms in the days to come, which could create new fires.
The Carlton Complex fires in Central Washington cover some 380 square miles, surpassing a 1902 fire, according to The Seattle Times. In the only fire-related death so far, 67-year-old retired Washington State Patrol trooper Ron Koczewski, who reportedly suffered a heart attack while he worked to protect his property in Okanogan County. The Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers some 150 homes are thought to have been destroyed but he suspects the number could go higher. — J.C.
Bacteria hit the beaches
Thurston County Officials issued a swimming advisory warning for Burton County Park after testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water, The Olympian reported. The beach is not closed, but the warning is cautioning swimmers, especially young children and people with compromised immune system to not go into the water.
The warning comes along with two other beaches that have been closed then reopened due to the high levels of fecal matter since the summer season began. Currently, Freeland County Park/Holmes Harbor in Island County and Bayview State Park beach in Skagit County are closed. The state updates conditions on its Washington Beach Program Facebook page. — J.B.
New digs for City Attorney
The Seattle City Attorney's Office is apparently headed to a new office space in Columbia Center next spring. The City Council approved a measure on Monday authorizing the city to lease 63,560 square feet for the city's law department on the 18th, 19th and 20th floors of the downtown skyscraper. The divisions of the City Attorney's Office are currently spread out on multiple floors in City Hall and the Seattle Municipal Tower. The consolidation is intended to improve collaboration within the department. A fiscal note attached to the bill also said that the law department has held off filling vacant positions because it does not have enough cubicle space.
The lease rate for the new offices would be $31.50 per square foot in 2015, according to the proposed lease agreement. The average lease price for Class A commercial real estate in downtown Seattle's Central Business District was $34.52 per square foot as of June, according to the commercial real estate firm CBRE's research and consulting arm. The annual cost for renting the space in Columbia Center in 2016, the first full year it would be occupied by the law department, will be $1,859,227, according to the proposed lease. The City Council voted 8-1 to authorize the lease; Bruce Harrell cast the only no vote. — B.L.
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