Just down the Hill, Flora marks 25 years as Seattle’s iconic vegetarian cafe

The Flora crew in 1991 (Image: Cafe Flora with permission to CHS)

The Flora crew in 1991 (Image: Cafe Flora with permission to CHS)

Young CHS reader, hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when vegetarian cuisine was trendy – a sort of specialty food scoffed at by squares the same way your grandpa sniffs at “vegan” and “gluten free.” His scare quotes, not ours. In 1991, Café Flora sought to change that when it opened in an old laundromat on Madison. While it wasn’t the first vegetarian restaurant in town, it’s ridden the growth of the vegetarian lifestyle and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

In the years since, vegetarian, and even vegan restaurants have become commonplace, Seattle consistently ranks among the top veg-friendly cities in America, and Café Flora’s owner, Nat Stratton Clarke, welcomes the growth.

“It’s so great. For me, I really welcome that there are more options that are vegetarian or vegan and are terrific,” he said.

Stratton-Clarke wasn’t there at the beginning. He came to the Madison Valley restaurant about 10 years ago, after one of the original owners died. About two years later, the other two originals owners retired, selling Café Flora in 2008. Continue reading

As city studies Capitol Hill street where man fatally struck by driver, neighbors call for urgent action

dsc07349Neighbors and Seattle’s City Hall have begun the process of doing something about the conditions that led to the death of Capitol Hill resident Max Richards who died last week after being hit by a driver while crossing the sloping street at Belmont Ave E and Bellevue Place E.

Completing a legislative process begun long before the 79-year-old was killed, Seattle safe streets advocates celebrated the City Council’s passage Monday afternoon of new rules that will drop the speed limit by five miles per hour to 25 MPH on many arterials across the central city including Broadway, Pike, Pine, and Madison. Meanwhile, the speed limit will drop to 20 mph on 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets across the city. Under the approved changes, around 500 new speed limit signs will be installed. The city would then enter a warning period before police officers begin enforcing the new speeds. The move is part of Mayor Ed Murray’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths by 2030. Continue reading

$12 million to homelessness, 200 police officers, electric cars, more streetcar: What’s in the mayor’s budget for Capitol Hill

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-2-08-55-pmAfter taking on major initiatives like universal Pre-K and housing affordability, Mayor Ed Murray set a more restrained and “efficient” course for the City of Seattle during his 2017-2018 budget presentation at City Council Monday afternoon. That still didn’t keep dozens of protestors from chanting against the mayor’s police spending priorities just outside the council chambers.

Since the Great Recession, the city has amassed $35 million per year in construction fees, which Murray called out as a precarious financial situation. Projecting the rapid pace of construction will begin to slow in 2017, the mayor said his budget avoids making too many major longterm investments and puts money into the city’s rainy day funds.

“If 2014 was the year of the minimum wage, 2015 the year of housing affordability, and 2016 is the year of education, it is my intention to make 2017 the year of good governance,” he said. Continue reading

Olympia comes to 12th Ave in Inslee-Bryant debate

debateFollowing a presidential debate where the most shocking moment wasn’t one candidate calling the other a racist liar and that candidate not bothering to defend himself, a Capitol Hill tilt pitting candidates in the 2016 battle for governor of Washington played out mostly shock free inside Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium. The biggest revelations might have been the gap between progressive Democrats in Seattle and the man many are likely to ultimately back, incumbent Jay Inslee.

On the night, Inslee failed to endorse safe injection sites, said he would never support a state income tax, and the best he could offer on helping to close the divide between police and communities of color was touting the state’s criminal justice training center. But challenger Bill Bryant, vying to become the first Republican to lead the state in 30 years, brought even more alien politics to the stage of the 12th Ave college campus Monday night. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Electoral College: New Capitol Hill ballot drop box in place at Seattle Central

dsc07256Donald Trump is surely quaking in his loafers — you won’t need a stamp to vote this November after King County Elections installed one of its new drop boxes on Broadway outside Seattle Central. County ballot drop box use went up significantly in the August primary, with 36% of all ballots returned at drop-off areas. In 2011, Washington shifted to all-mail elections but the percentage of eligible voters participating in the 2014 midterm election fell below 40%. According to the county, the ballot drop boxes are especially important for last-minute voters. Now if KCE can help out with the various inconsistencies, disenfranchisement, and hanging chads we’ll see in the rest of the country come November.

In the meantime, Monday night brings the first Trump vs. Hillary Clinton presidential debate on TV while the Washington gubernatorial debate follows right here on Capitol Hill at Seattle University. Our roster of seven debate watch parties plus more information on the Inslee-Bryant tilt are here.

Closed! (Images: CHS)

Closed! (Images: CHS)

How to help black artists who got ‘Erased’ at Capitol Hill Art Hack Day

Art Hack Day was intended to foster collaboration. Its visit to Capitol Hill earlier this month has instead been an illustration in frustration for two artists who wanted to be part of the event and has led to the cancellation of a connected arts festival intended to build on the night’s work.

With the September 17th event’s theme of “Erasure” hosted at 11th Ave’s V2, creators Jaleesa Trapp and Christopher Paul Jordan were sad and frustrated to find their contribution as black artists all but erased by the night’s organizers:

last night we came to setup our creation for #ArtHack Seattle, and we stayed at the space until a little after 3AM. we slept 2 hours. woke up early to finish writing code & drawing where all the circuits needed to be connected. only to come finish our setup 2 hours before the show & EVERYTHING was moved. there’s no way we could’ve reset this and then finished what we brought. ironically, the theme of Art Hack Seattle is Erasure. our piece was dedicated to Black people whose histories have been erased. our piece was meant to be interactive, with sight, sound, touch, and even smell. Chris and I both work all day, and spent Thursday & Friday night working. we’ve driven back & forth from Tacoma several times because this was an important show to us. Continue reading

Blotter | Shopper says held up at gunpoint for Uncle Ike’s bag in 23rd Ave robbery

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • 23rd Ave/Spring robbery: Police searched the blocks around 23rd and Union after a Sunday night robbery of an Uncle Ike’s shopper. According to SPD, police were called to the area after the victim retreated to the Central District pot store can called 911 to report the 10 PM robbery at 23rd and Spring. The victim said he was held up at gunpoint for his Uncle Ike’s bag by a suspect wearing a red bandana over his face and carrying a black handgun. Police searched the area and blocked off nearby streets searching for a male suspect in his teens but had little to go on other than the description of an unknown race male wearing a black jacket. A K9 search of the area was not successful. There were no arrests and no reported injuries in the hold-up. Police say the stolen bag contained “marijuana paraphernalia.”
  • First Hill hold-up: A man reported his son was robbed at gunpoint last Thursday afternoon around 4:15 PM in the 1200 block of University on First Hill. Police were looking for a suspect described as an Asian male with black, spiky hair, bad skin, and wearing black shorts. The suspect was armed with a black revolver with a wooden handle, the victims told police. The suspect was last seen fleeing toward Broadway. Police were not able to locate the suspect. SPD data shows that robbery reports in general across the city are down so far in 2016.

Finally giving up on the grass, Tashkent Park celebrated as international symbol of goodwill

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

An international symbol of goodwill and a formerly worn down public space connecting some of the most densely populated blocks on the West Coast, Tashkent Park’s makeover was marked with a rededication celebration on Saturday featuring remarks from representatives of Seattle and its sister city, the park’s namesake, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The sister city relationship between Tashkent and Seattle was formed in 1973 and was the first Soviet and U.S. sister city agreement in the nation. Of Seattle’s 21 sister cities, Tashkent is one of the few to have a park dedicated to it.

Secretary Abdufarrukh Khavirov of the Uzbekistan Embassy in the U.S., said the park is a piece of his country in Seattle.

“It (is) a symbol of our friendship of our nations,” he said. Continue reading

28 bars, restaurants, and cafes part of ‘largest ever’ Omnivorous benefit for Capitol Hill Housing

If you like things like this weekend’s Capitol Hill Renter Summit, and you like 40 years of nonprofit housing development on and beyond Capitol Hill, and you like the idea of two dozen or so Capitol Hill bars, restaurants, and cafes banding together for a party under one roof, you might want to get a ticket or two to Thursday’s annual Capitol Hill Housing benefit, Omnivorous:omni_2016_logo_beet_small

Enjoy an array of fabulous food and drink by some of Capitol Hill’s best restaurants and bars – all under one roof, for just one night! Omnivorous is Capitol Hill Housing’s largest annual fundraiser. $85 gets you: ~Unlimited plates of delicious delicacies ~Superb Northwest wines and specialty cocktails ~A chance to help your neighbors have more than just housing

We’ve got a great line up of local chefs, restaranteurs, bartenders, distillers and roasters already. This year’s participants include: BaBar, Bakery Nouveau, Bar Ferdinand, Caffé Vita, Chávez, Gnocchi Bar, Hello Robin, High 5 Pie, Mamnoon, Marjorie, Monsoon, Oola Distillery, Plum Bistro, Poppy & Lionhead, Quinn’s & Zoe Events, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Rumba, Single Shot, Tallulah’s, Tango, Taylor Shellfish, Terra Plata, The Tin Table, Witness, and more!

So, basically, $85 for all you can eat Hello Robin cookies. Go crazy. The event runs 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Thursday, September 29th at E Pike’s The Summit event space. Tickets are $85. The full roster of participants is below. Continue reading

14+ things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill #rentersummit

Listening to the mayor talk about affordability? OK. Listening to your neighbors? Priceless (Image: CHS)

Listening to the mayor talk about affordability? OK. Listening to your neighbors? Priceless (Image: CHS)

Renting is not a stepping stone to homeownership for Sean Liming. The 49-year-old has been a renter on Capitol Hill for 22 years. “I think I’ll be a renter my whole life … I like being in that situation,” he said.

But there have been problems along the way. Liming said landlords have turned him away after finding out about his felony conviction. He is also one of the many renters on Capitol Hill to see his rent double overnight. Liming has never been involved with local politics, but when he heard about the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict organizing renters last year to push back against some of those very issues, Liming said he knew he wanted to get involved.

Around 100 people, many renters on Capitol Hill, gathered for the EcoDistrict’s Renter Summit Saturday afternoon at the Miller Community Center. The event was intended to be a launching point for a new renter power movement in the city. Many came as part of the EcoDistrict’s efforts to organize building ambassadors around Capitol Hill. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Born on Capitol Hill, the architect who became a pilot and a painter

1102 Harvard Ave N, 1937 and 1957

The home Fransioli grew up in, 1102 Harvard Ave N. Pictured in 1937 (top) and 1957 (Washington State Archives)

Fransioli yearbook photo

Thomas Fransioli, 1923 (Broadway High School yearbook)

Let’s have a little talk about Thomas Fransioli, Jr. When a pilot is on patrol and his plane takes pictures but he parks to ply as a painter of the places he previously planned, he is called a pylon penning, pillbox pecking, painting pushing poster boy.

From here to there
Thomas Fransioli, Jr. was grandson of early streetcar executive M. H. Young (check out this vintage CHS Re:Take!). He grew up in Harvard-Belmont, went to Lowell and graduated Broadway High in 1923. He was the senior class treasurer, and active in the glee club and drama.

A 1949 Seattle Times article said he attended the UW for two years, but the timing isn’t clear. Maybe he took classes while in high school? After graduating Broadway in ’23 he went to the University of Pennsylvania, got a degree in architecture, and became an architect on the east coast. A couple of his design works are mentioned online: a house in Virginia, and work for John Russell Pope on the National Gallery. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | Hill rents on rise (in 2014), Seattle’s first bike box, CC Attle’s last days on Madison

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-3-31-54-pmHere are the top stories from this week in CHS history:



What counting every Pike/Pine pedestrian on a summer night reveals

Capitol Hill food+drink | Peloton at center of bicycle cafe pack coming to Pike/Pine, 12th Ave

Continue reading