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September 29, 2013 at 3:11 PM

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West Seattle: Happy to be Unhip


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Alki point in West Seattle looking across Puget Sound to downtown Seattle.

For this profile of West Seattle, I tried to capture in images the essence of a peninsula that is a large neighborhood comprised of its own neighborhoods and identities. Reporter Susan Kelleher and I chose to focus on a couple things - the small-town feel, the history tied to the bridge, baby boom and building boom. Find our cover story in this Sunday's issue of Pacific NW magazine and read the full article here.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Bob Ferguson, 87, finishes his coffee at Be's Restaurant near "The Junction" of Alaska and California in West Seattle July 26, 2013. He was born in Chicago but has lived in West Seattle since September 1953 - just now 60 years.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left, brothers Vaughn Matzen, 3, Griffin Matzen, 5, and siblings Peter Drake, 5, Louisa Drake, 3, and Amelia Drake, front, 14 months, sip on drinks outside Caffe Fiore in the north Admiral neighborhood of West Seattle July 26, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Najat Siye gets groceries at the High Point Mini Market August 21, 2013, a small neighborhood market that also sells halal meats and spices. The market opened two years ago, one of many signs of African immigrant influence on the High Point neighborhood, a very culturally diverse community.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

People stroll by Easy Street Records, an anchor record store and cafe at the heart of the California Avenue / Alaska Street Junction in West Seattle.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Craig Sonnenfeld and his grand-nephew Nathaniel Chapman, 5, look into the pit where a new development will be built on California Avenue just south of Alaska Street. Nearly 3,900 new housing units have been built in West Seattle since 2005, most of them multifamily or mixed-use developments near or along major thoroughfares. Another 1,258 have been approved or are under review.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kitschy t-shirts on display in the Log House Museum show how life on the peninsula revolved around two low bridges that would lift for boat traffic without warning - making the commute from West Seattle to the mainland unpredictable at best. The shirt on the right from July 1984 shows happy boat traffic going through while cars pass on the high bridge overhead.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Paul Rodriguez of Renton was one of nine tribute performers for "E Meets West," the third-annual Elvis Fest at The Feedback Lounge in West Seattle Friday August 16, 2013 on the 36th anniversary of Elvis' passing. The Feedback is a popular hangout for musicians.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A couple strolls out to the western tip of Lincoln Park with a fishing pole past a sign of "Love" on a sunny afternoon Sunday August 18, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Amanda Gilbert, left, Nancy McPhee, right, volunteers at the Log House Museum, put together a handmade puzzle from the 1930's. "It's just so evil," said Gilbert with a laugh. A man in his 80's brought in a box of his grandmother's puzzles which she had hand cut from magazine images.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

This art deco medallion is believed to have come from the Alki Natatorium, which operated on Alki Beach from 1934 to 1953, and is now in the garden at the Log House Museum.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

"I live, work and love here," said Helseth Bent of West Seattle as he sat working on his computer on the back patio of C&P Coffee Company on California Avenue August 21, 2013. "I keep trying to move away," he said with a chuckle, about West Seattle. "Now I almost never leave. For a while it was disconcerting, but it's a good thing." He comes to C&P each day and works down the street at Easy Street Records.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Janet Primomo listens to former mayor Greg Nickels talk about the history of former occupants of he and his wife Sharon's home during a centennial celebration they hosted for their restored craftsman in North Admiral Sunday August 18, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A postcard of Alki Point from 1934-1936 on display in the Log House Museum.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Earl Cruzen, 92, looks out the window of his West Seattle condo on Alki Beach and points towards downtown Seattle. Born and raised in Highland Park, Cruzen was the driving force behind the 1989 mural project that adorns the Alaska Junction area with scenes of West Seattle's history. To say he has seen a lot of change is an understatement, but he keeps perspective from his view of Puget Sound. "They can't take the tide away,'' he says, "and they can't take the water away."

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kara Wynter walks along Alki Beach in West Seattle at sunset with her daughter Kayziah, 5.

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