16 things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill ‘Gentrification Conversation’

Thursday night, Capitol Hill residents and community members gathered at First Baptist Church for a “Gentrification Conversation” to formally discuss the radical and rapidly occurring changes in the neighborhood.

Organized by the Capitol Hill Community Council, the forum’s panel featured Tricia Romano – a Seattle Times lifestyle writer and author of the recent front page story on the Hill’s gentrification — and a slew of various community members, many of whom were interviewed for her story, including performer Ade Connere, Michael Wells from the Chamber of Commerce, co-owner of the Wildrose bar Shelley Brothers, Diana Adams (owner of the Vermillion bar and gallery), and Branden Born, an associate professor of urban design and planning at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill resident.

With Romano’s nerve-touching article as a springboard, panelists discussed their own experiences with the influx of capital and “bros” on the Hill, neighborhood identity, and public safety amongst increasing incidents of violence and LGBTQ hate crimes in Pike/Pine.

Here are 16 things CHS heard Thursday night:

  1. “People are coming here specifically to party. I’ve actually heard people call it ‘party mountain’,” said Romano.
  2. “The idea that you hear all the time is ‘that’s just the way the market works.’ Don’t believe that,” said Born. “Your economics professor was lying to you.”
  3. Born said that the city has an organizational flaw in having the DPD and the Department of Neighborhoods separate from one another, adding that DPD is funded via developer fees which incentivises them to approve frenzied development projects. Continue reading

East Precinct’s new commander takes on Pike/Pine crime

Capt. Paul McDonagh in what we *think* was his first public appearance as the new East Precinct commander Friday morning (Image: CHS)

Capt. Paul McDonagh, speaking, in what we *think* was his first public appearance as the new East Precinct commander Friday morning (Image: CHS)

In a Friday morning meeting with business owners from Pike/Pine’s biggest clubs to its smallest and with representatives from retailers like Elliott Bay Book Company and local real estate development companies, East Precinct’s new commander Capt. Paul McDonagh addressed concerns that not enough is being done to police Seattle’s current busiest nightlife and entertainment district.

McDonagh, newly returned to the post he helmed for two and a half years starting in 2009, told the business owners and representatives that increased patrols are already underway and that detective work and investigations are already making a difference. “You’re not going to see officers on every block,” McDonagh said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re not working.”

The meeting came after a letter to city officials and the mayor from more than 40 Pike/Pine businesses in March calling for more cops to patrol the booming neighborhood. “Capitol Hill has a quickly increasing number of residents and people visiting it,” one portion of the letter said. “This increase needs to be met with an increased budget for policing and social services.”

According to details discussed at Friday’s meeting, six to eight officers are typically on patrol at any given time. Emphasis patrols essentially double the police force on the streets. “There will be nights where I put even more out,” McDonagh said. Continue reading

Blotter | Driver reportedly flees after hitting pedestrians outside First Hill McDonald’s — Plus, Seattle U threat

(Image: @alanwaite via Twitter)

(Image: @alanwaite via Twitter)

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

  • Madison hit and run: Police were searching for a driver who reportedly left the scene of a morning car vs. pedestrian collision near the First Hill McDonald’s involving multiple victims, one with reported serious injuries. A driver struck at least two pedestrians outside the First Hill McDonalds Friday morning, according to police radio traffic. Witnesses told police the driver left the scene following the collision. Police were searching the area for a female suspect following the incident. We don’t yet have specifics of the injuries sustained but a witness described the scene of the incident via Twitter:

    The female driver had not been contacted by police as of 10:30 AM.

  • SU bomb threat: A threatening note forced the evacuations of three buildings on the Seattle University campus Friday morning. Students and staff were cleared from the buildings as police searched floor to floor and office to office for the unspecified threat. Here is the security bulletin sent by Seattle University to the campus:Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.43.11 AM

UPDATE: All clear!Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 11.36.14 AM

SPD says a student found “two threatening notes in a women’s restroom.”

Mystic makes 12th Ave plans in Seattle’s growing kombucha culture and community

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

da Silva at the Broadway Farmers Market (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Carlos da Silva started brewing kombucha as a hobby about three and a half years ago. He and his friend, Caitlin Matteson, were both yoga teachers who liked the beverage made from fermented tea, so they bought a home kit from Communitea.

The pair, and their friends, enjoyed the brew they came up with, but there was one big problem.

“We didn’t make enough kombucha for a habit,” da Silva said. “We wanted to make more.”

From that scoby — the squishy tea starter disc — sprang forth Mystic Kombucha, a company which sells its creations around Capitol Hill including the weekly Sunday Broadway Farmers Market, and which, as early as this summer, should have its own kombucha bar on 12th Ave. Continue reading

The Central Circuit: Seattle Central president to step down

Killpatrick at a 2011 rally against education funding cuts (Image: CHS)

Killpatrick at a 2011 rally against education funding cuts (Image: CHS)

By Mohamed Adan, The Central Circuit special to CHS

Seattle Central College president Paul Killpatrick has said he will step down, effective June 25th.

Killpatrick made the announcement in an April 2nd email to staff and faculty. In it, he wrote, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this incredible institution, and I can honestly say my tenure here has been the high point of my 36-year career in higher education.“

In the email, Killpatrick characterized his departure as a voluntary “retirement” but Jill Wakefield, the chancellor of the Seattle College District, said it was time to “transition to new leadership” at the Capitol Hill school.

“After reviewing Paul’s achievements, surveying the challenges ahead, and considering Paul’s own timeline, I decided, and Paul agreed, that it was time to transition to new leadership and to not extend his contract,” Wakefield said about the decision. Continue reading

New ‘smart’ parking payment machines coming to Capitol Hill this year, Pike/Pine in 2016

The new station... coming soon to Capitol Hill

The new station… coming soon to Capitol Hill

New, “smart,” variable rate parking payment machines will be installed around Capitol Hill streets later this year with Pike/Pine to follow in 2016 in a $20 million overhaul of Seattle’s paid street parking system.

The new machines are first being installed in Pioneer Square. Provided by contractor IPS Group, the new machines will reportedly perform better than the current fleet of persnickety machines on the city’s streets. “The older technology in the current pay stations is slower to process transactions, provides less reliable cellular communication and includes old credit card readers no longer supported by the vendor,” a Seattle Department of Transportation statement on the new machines reads.

12th Ave, Cherry Hill, and First Hill installations will also follow in 2016. Continue reading

You can now buy the street newspaper Real Change with an app

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.34.39 AMNo cash? No problem. That’s what vendors of the weekly newspaper Real Change are saying after the publication introduced an app on Thursday that allows readers to purchase a digital copy of the paper.

For $2.99, readers can purchase the digital publication by scanning a QR code connected to a credit card. The publication’s homeless and low income vendors will each carry a badge with an individualized QR code. Paper copies will still be available for $2.

The app was started by a Google employee who volunteered with Real Change two years ago, according to newspaper. The project was then developed by eight volunteer Google employees.

“Cashlessness is a challenge our vendors face on a daily basis,” said Real Change director Timothy Harris in a statement. “This app will help our paper survive in the digital age, when fewer people have ready access to cash and more people prefer to read news content on their mobile devices.”

Real Change and Google announced the app during a Thursday media conference in Occidental Park. Google envisions that app spreading to street newspapers in other cities, a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Real Change covers local social and economic justice issues while providing employment opportunities for its homeless vendors, including many familiar faces along Capitol Hill’s busiest corridors. Find out more at realchangenews.org

One dead in 16th Ave E house fire

IMG_4963.JPGSeattle Fire responded to a serious house fire in the 400 block of 16th Ave E Thursday morning just before 9 AM.

One victim was found deceased inside as the fire in the two story house was knocked down and under control by around 9:05 AM. A search for other possible occupants was underway.

A Seattle Fire spokesperson said the victim, a female in her 90s, was found on the first floor of the house and was dead by the time firefighters arrived. A male victim was outside the house as crews arrived and reported that a person was trapped inside. SFD said the second victim was taken to Harborview for treatment of smoke inhalation.

UPDATE: A SFD spokesperson said investigators have determined the cause of the fire to be improperly discarded smoking materials that ignited a chair inside the house. The fire did an estimated $200,000 in damage to the structure and its contents. UPDATE x2: SFD has also posted an update saying a family pet was found safe at a neighbor’s house following the fire and that the Red Cross was called in to provide shelter assistance for the second victim after he was released from the hospital and a caregiver living in the home.

Charred damage to the side of the 1902-built house was visible as smoke billowed from the front windows. A neighbor tells CHS the woman who died was a 92-year-old owner of the house. SFD has confirmed that her 76-year-old son was the second victim transported to the hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns.

Neighbor Eric provided this photo and a few details:IMG_4966.JPG“My friend called it in. We were waiting for the 10 on 15th and Republican when we noticed white smoke beginning to build behind QFC. He then called and in the process, the smoke started to blacken. A minute after this photo was taken, the fire department arrived.”

UPDATE: Here’s some video of the initial response courtesy neighbor Adam: Continue reading

‘The Starbucks of health care’ working to upend the industry at 23rd and Jackson

Maxine Frazier loves her new doctor. The Central District resident started going to Iora Primary Care a few months ago, and it’s safe to say she wouldn’t go back to a traditional doctor’s office.

“This is the best thing I ever heard of,” she said.

Iora is a local branch of a growing national health provider. The fast-growing company has 12 offices across the country, with plans to open another 10 or 11 within a year, according to Kathleen Haley, senior director of marketing and communications for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company.

Locally, there’s an office in Shoreline, and another at 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.

Iora is looking to upend the typical fee-for-service health care model, and instead partners with companies or health insurers to offer services based on a more regular schedule. In general, the insurer pays Iora a monthly fee for each member, which allows the patient to visit the office as much, or as little as they need. Visits end up lasting longer than a usual doctor’s visit, with one-hour blocks of time set aside for each patient. The New York Times just called it “a kind of Starbucks for health care.”

“We’re just restoring humanity to health care. That’s it,” quipped Dr. Jay Mathur, a Central District Iora physician CHS spoke with. Continue reading

City funds year-round youth shelter at 19th and Madison

61464_172894822849602_1913562182_nThe much needed — but temporary — set of beds inside 19th and Madison homeless youth facility Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets is still needed. And no longer temporary.

Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced Wednesday that PSKS will receive an additional $130,000 needed to operate as a year-long shelter.

Earlier this year, the 19th Ave community center used city funding to add its shelter beds as a temporary cold-weather measure. The shelter admits anyone between the ages of 18-29, and executive director Susan Fox said PSKS strives to make the space as safe as possible for queer youth. PSKS has a queer youth internship program, a transgendered support group, and has LGBTQ staff members.

The new grant will also allow PSKS to add an additional five beds to the facility starting in June.

“In a region like ours where there is such tremendous wealth, it’s heartbreaking that any of our youth experience homelessness,” Murray said in the announcement of the grant. “That’s why it is vital that we provide a warm bed, a pillow, and some relief from the dangers of the street. While permanent, safe housing is the ultimate goal, securing these additional resources will mean a few more young people every night won’t have to sleep on the streets.”

The funding meets a recommendation from a committee on homelessness advising the mayor and will also address some of the needs that have been expressed as solutions for countering hate crime on Capitol Hill including the demand for LGBTQ youth shelter space.