SEATTLE -- Commuters will face delays during the Monday morning rush hour when President Barack Obama departs Seattle.
The president is staying at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle and will be traveling to Sea-Tac Airport. Air Force One is tentatively scheduled to take off around 8:50 a.m.
The airspace above SeaTac will be shut down for takeoff on Monday morning. That means about 20 commercial flights arriving and departing could see delays.
President Obama was in town Sunday attending a pair of Democratic fundraisers in North Seattle and Medina. Obama sounded a nostalgic personal note Sunday night and offered a rare self-assessment while criticizing congressional Republicans as an "impediment" to governing.
Obama told donors the sight of Mount Rainier illuminated by a setting sun was particularly special because it reminded him of his mother, who attended high school in the Seattle area. "I feel the spirit of my mom," he said.
He also attempted to contrast himself with Republicans who control the House of Representatives, saying they are "more focused on positioning themselves for the next election.”
"I'm not a particularly ideological person," he said, adding he still is passionate about giving people a fair shake, about the environment, and working for peace and national security. "But I'm pretty pragmatic about how we get there.”
Pres. Obama arrived at his first event at the North Seattle home of Zumiez co-founder Tom Campion at around 5 p.m. About 150 people lined the streets.
Environmental activists were some of the first people to show up Sunday afternoon, many of them protesting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Some chanted "Hey, Obama, we don’t want your pipeline drama.”
The President then headed across Lake Washington to for a second fundraiser at the Medina home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.
The trip comes as Obama's health care law approaches a crucial Nov. 30 deadline for an improved insurance enrollment website whose catastrophic start Oct. 1 dealt a serious political blow to the White House.
"This has really been a critical state for healthcare reform, we have a successful exchange in this state, and I suspect Obama is going to focus on the success of his program here," said Paul Berendt, who is a former chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party.
The Seattle Monorail, which runs next to the Westin, will be shut down until 8:30 a.m. Monday due to security.
After leaving Puget Sound on Monday, the president will make stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Closures in the area of the Westin Hotel
- Virginia Street will be closed from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue, beginning early afternoon on Sunday and remaining closed until about mid-morning on Monday.
- There will be no access to Virginia Street from any of the adjacent alleys.
- Access from Stewart Street on the south side is open, as is access from Lenora Street on the north, but there is no access to exit the alley to Virginia Street.
- 5th Avenue will be closed from Lenora to Stewart Street, beginning early afternoon on Sunday and remaining closed until about mid-morning on Monday.
- The parking lot on the west side of 5th Avenue, between Lenora and Virginia Streets, will be accessible from the alley off Lenora Street.
- The parking garage on the SE corner of 5th Avenue and Lenora Street will be accessible from the alley off Lenora Street only.
- The Westin Building Parking Garage will not be accessible during these hours unless arrangements have been made with the US Secret Service.
- Avis Rent-A-Car has been contacted and arrangements have been made to enable their customer’s access.
- Pedestrians will not be restricted with only 2 exceptions: The sidewalk on the south side of Virginia, between 5th and 6th Avenue will be closed the entire time of the visit. The sidewalk on the north side of Virginia, between 5th and 6th Avenue will be closed during arrival and departure only.
- Metro Transit has been advised and will be rerouting their buses during the hours of the closure.