Liquid natural gas station angers residents, along with ‘alarming 10 days’ of violence

by Jack Mayne

SeaTac Police Chief Lisa K. Mulligan told the SeaTac City Council of the “alarming 10 days or so,” between Oct. 2nd and 9th, “we had several days with five pretty significant events,” but declared that the city remains safe for its citizens.

The Council on Tuesday night (Oct. 13) also heard of the impact on the McMicken Heights neighborhood of idle limousines clogging the streets and of a traffic impacts expected from a liquid natural gas service station.

Two deaths and a shooting
Mulligan said the first of the early October disturbances was early in the morning of Oct. 2 in the area of 140th and 7th Ave. South when a burglar awakened a family. The people chased him out but he had “what we believe was a medical condition which seized him and he died.” The case is closed now and she said the city has no reason to believe there will be a “spree of nighttime burglars,” which could have been the case had he been alive and headed for court action. The reason of the man’s death is pending toxicology results, she said.

The second incident was in the afternoon of the same day when they investigated a death of a man on what is believed to be a drug overdose at the Motel 6, across the street from City Hall.

On Oct. 3, near midnight, officers were called to a gas station at 160th and International Boulevard when a man with a bloody face, and who had been shot “stumbled in.” He survived but refuses to cooperate with police on what happened. Mulligan said they have no idea where his injuries happened or the circumstances. By fingerprint analysis, Mulligan said they determined he was a Federal Way resident.

Body in crawl space
Later the same morning, an officer was flagged down at about 184th and International Blvd. “and he was told by a passerby that he had overheard a conversation about a body under the bank drive through.” Officers investigated and found a body in a crawl-through under the driveway.

“There was no trauma and it appears he had been there for about a week. True mystery, we know who he is, we do not know why he was there … there was nothing to indicate why it was that he died there in that location.”

Toxicology reports on the cases are pending, she said.

A man answering a knock on his mobile home was shot in the face. It happened on the evening of Friday, Oct 9, Mulligan said, at the Firs Mobile Home Park, at 204th and International. Then “suspects came in, took some items from the home forcibly” then left and are still at-large.

Everyone not in danger
She said she is “100 percent sure that this was not a random case of violence” and the police have leads they are following. She said officers will meet with residents of the park to ease their worries about people coming to their doors with violent intentions.

“Looking at all of these things together, it very much feels like something is up in this area of the City of SeaTac” because of the shootings. She said there are no connections yet, but the police are still investigating.

“But we don’t have a situation where everyone out there is in danger at this moment,” she said.

Councilmember Pam Fernald asked how many officers are on a shift and Mulligan said the “very lowest number we have is at least three officers on every shift,” and briefly at some parts of the day there are as many as 14 patrol officers on the street, plus three crime detectives who can work the street if needed and three street crime detectives during the daytime.

“The average would be four” on each shift, not counting overlap periods and the detectives, said Mulligan.

Councilmember Dave Bush said that with backup from other agencies the SeaTac staff can count on the help they need in a crisis.

Fernald said she saw a local video recently about a stolen car involving teenaged girls and wondered if it was common for teen girls to be involved in such crimes. Mulligan said it was relatively common.

Parents’ speed in school zone
Deborah Myers is a school crossing guard for Madrona Elementary School who said “I come to you for some help” to get some flashing lights to alert drivers of school children crossing the street.

“I almost got hit today and the lady says I didn’t see you. Well, the City of SeaTac did give us some vests with flashing lights. I have my flashing lights on, I have my stop (sign) flashing, I have on my orange hat and I am not a tiny woman – it’s like, really, you can’t see me?”

She said it is usually the parents of the kids that “are flying through there trying to hurry and pick up their kids.”

Natural gas and limos
During comment period at the beginning of the regular Council meeting, a resident once again noted problems with a proposed compressed natural gas filling station at 170th Street and 28th Avenue South that would exacerbate traffic problems in the area, especially at 170th and International Boulevard. Cars would have to use residential streets to get into the station, he said.

He also noted that for-hire cars park in the area so they can wait without paying for parking. He said police try to run them off, but without a city ordinance outlawing such vehicles parking in the area, the limousines return soon after police leave. He suggested signs restricting parking “would help.”

Todd Cutts, SeaTac city manager, said officials have rewritten the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) study requirements to include a traffic study along with noise problems in the area. The natural gas use is allowed under zoning in the area, he said.

Paula Christman, who lives on 31st Place South, said there have been no infrastructure improvements in the area despite the increase in traffic, and “nerve wracking” problems with left turns for entering the gas stations and the hotel. Christman said she imagines even more traffic problems if the natural gas station is located on 170th.

‘Creepy’ limo drivers
McMicken Heights resident Pam Ellis said its “creepy” in her neighborhood because of all the limo drivers parking where it is free to wait.

“It is a wide-ish street, but not with limo drivers parked on each side. It’s just weird and I feel like I live in a commercial zone,” Ellis said, adding the drivers stand in groups to talk, they “go to the bathroom in the street and throw their garbage out and that is our front yard, that is our street. It is not good.”

Some say the drivers congregate in the street, even blocking traffic and ignoring drivers trying to get through.

Cutts said the staff was drafting an ordinance to control parking in neighborhoods and would present it later to the Council.

She wanted to know if there was a future plan for the area, “I’d really like to know,” adding the may not have bought if they had known what was going to happen in the neighborhood.


6 Responses to “Liquid natural gas station angers residents, along with ‘alarming 10 days’ of violence”
  1. Pat Jorgenson says:

    I have lived in Sue Linda Park since 1961. I have watched the area go down hill since we were one of the best kept area for lots of years. This new venture of a pressed natural gas station at the corner S170 & 31st Ave a very was not a very well investigated plan as far as I can see. The traffic from the already business there (2 service stations ,Master park, RedRoof parking area, plus access to the airport and International Blvd, Fire station 4 blks away) seems like a very inlikely place to have that business even if it is legal. I am not for trying left turn lanes on 170th as it already has bike lanes & sidewalks. I know we have to expect changes but personally I think this is over the top and not necessary as they already have one on 28th.

  2. Joel says:

    An interesting article. But I’m confused. I just received Mayor Mia’s latest campaign flyer which states, “SeaTac is ranked the 7th most dangerous city in Washington” and claims the people running against her “would gut public safety”. My question is how did things get so bad under her watch if she’s been doing such a good job.

    Clearly we have a crime problem for some time but the City Council has never addressed it. Instead of trying to win her campaign knocking the other candidates who claim only that the want to increase services while balancing the the budget, she needs to knock of the negative campaigning and tell us what she is going to do for us!

    Its time for a change!

  3. Michael T Kovacs says:

    After reading the above 2015 will go down as the worst year for crime statistics in its history. This was known in 2009 when I ran for city council. But brushed aside by opponents as a non-issue. They have done nothing to mitigate crime in the city. Most noted unelected Mayor Gergerson.

  4. Michael T Kovacs says:

    Remember citizens of SeaTac. Mia Gregerson, Sally Andrews, Dave Bush, Unions; SEIU 199NW HealthCare PAC, SEIU Local 6, Washington Teamsters Legislative League, SEIU Quality Care Committee UFCW 21 PAC are responsible for the flyer that endorses Gergerson and Andrews. They are all culpable for the homicides and violent crimes in SeaTac that have escalated out of control. Remeber the unsolved homicides too!

  5. Michael T Kovacs says:

    All photos are not from City of SeaTac Police, King County Sheriffs or Kent Regional Fire District Responders. They are from shutter and There is a watermark in front of each photo to show the owner. Please review the following