About 30 chairs have been set up in the backyard for the presidential chat. The backyard has a two-story tree house with a slide, and a pile of kids toys has been hidden under a tarp and pushed to the side to make room for a platform for television cameras.
Outside the house, more than two dozen people gathered. Among them was Shelby Adams, an eighth grader at Eckstein Middle School. Obama’s mother attended Eckstein when she and her family lived in Seattle in the 1950s.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Shelby, who admitted she was playing hooky to catch a glimpse of the president.
People planning to attend were asked to RSVP to the Murray campaign.
King County Metro Transit has recommended that those attending the rally take buses because more than 15,000 people are expected.
Metro said more than 15 bus routes travel to or near the UW campus and the University District. To find a route, go to www.kingcounty.gov/tripplanner.
Freeway delays are expected when Obama leaves in the early afternoon after the UW event.
During the president’s visit, only one Metro bus route will see changes. Route 70 will bypass its regular stop at Sixth Avenue and Virginia Street in Seattle.
While some of the details of Obama’s visit to Seattle are being kept under wraps, the Seattle Department of Transportation is warning of possible traffic slowdowns.
City streets near his downtown Seattle hotel could be affected; however, the name of the hotel has not been announced.
During the presidential visit, the Federal Aviation Administration has established restricted airspace around Seattle.
The president’s plane touched down at Boeing Field at 9:22 p.m. on Wednesday.
He has returned to the state for the second time this election season to campaign U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.
The president was met by more than a dozen dignitaries, including Gov. Chris Gregoire, as he left the plane. After greeting them, he trotted over to chat and shake hands for a few minutes with a group of about 90 supporters behind a barrier.
Murray’s re-election bid has benefited from several appearances by big-name Democrats.
Former President Clinton stopped in Everett to support the incumbent on Monday. Vice President Joseph Biden held a Murray rally at the UW’s Tacoma campus two weeks ago. First lady Michelle Obama will visit next week.
Republican Dino Rossi is challenging Murray.
Immediately before arriving in Seattle, Obama was in Portland to campaign for gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber, and he will head to California to do the same for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer after he leaves Seattle.
Sean Collins Walsh: 206-464-3195 or firstname.lastname@example.org