Three giant new murals grace E Pike, Central District, First Hill walls


A new face at 23rd and Union (Image: Mohamed Adan for CHS)

Two new murals are joining the streetscapes in the Central District and on First Hill with a third popping up on a familiar E Pike canvas.

The new Sorrento Hotel parking garage mural is the work of Ellen Picken, an artist originally from Spokane. Picken’s black and white geometric design triumphed in a competition with 40 submissions from around the world, an impressive feat for a novice with only one public mural under her belt.

For the past two months, Picken has been working diligently on the mural with her assistant Phyllis Austin. Picken is passionate about transforming the space, which was formerly a hideous concrete wall, into something worthwhile and inclusive.

“I want to provide a space that let’s people feel the way they want to feel, and that’s why I don’t put in any figure work or anything with too much symbolism,” Picken told CHS.

Weirdo's work on E Pike as of July 1st (Image: CHS)

Weirdo’s work on E Pike as of July 1st (Image: CHS)

The mural was expected to be completed this week and was funded by by a joint public-private partnership between the City of Seattle, the non-profit Seattle Mural Projects, and and Magnetic/ERV, the company that operates the Sorrento.

On E Pike, the latest mural on the north side of Neumos is a work from artist Weirdo depicting musician Shannon Perry of Seattle band Gazebos as part of a project with Capitol Hill Block Party producers and the Capitol Hill Arts District to bring attention to the neighborhood’s visual artists at this year’s three-day music fest starting July 24th.

Meanwhile at 23rd and Union, a new mural outside Uncle Ike’s and The Neighbor Lady was completed by artist Joey Nix. Nix’s murals are found all over Seattle and he told CHS he enjoys doing large-scale projects. The mural is 3 1/2 stories high and 20 feet wide and is a full-figure portrait of Amanya, a bud tender at Uncle Ike’s. Nix took a photograph of the woman at the Arboretum and based his work on the image. The t-shirt she’s wearing has the word “Uhuru” on it, Swahili for freedom. Nix says his satisfaction comes from the hope that a lot of people will see and enjoy his work. “I hope they enjoy it, it’s for them, it’s for the public,” he said.

Mural in progress by @joe.nix #seattle #artprimo

A photo posted by @artprimo on

UPDATE: There is another…

Chophouse Row centerpiece Chop Shop opens Friday

Chop Shop took time out from construction for Chophouse's opening party in June (Image: CHS)

Chop Shop took time out from construction for Chophouse’s opening party in June (Image: CHS)

IMG_2855The centerpiece of the “open marketplace” at Pike/Pine’s new Chophouse Row development will finally open for business Friday.

Chop Shop from Volunteer Park Cafe’s Ericka Burke will bring an Oddfellows-like player to 11th Ave:

Chop Shop Cafe & Bar is chef Ericka Burke’s restaurant, anchoring the entrance to Chophouse Row from 11th Avenue. Coming from the chef-owner of the beloved Volunteer Park Cafe, ChopShop offers sit-down service and a seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while ChopShop Juice & Provisions provides healthy grab-and-go salads, pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and provisions. Chop Shop will have outdoor seating in both the alley and along the front sidewalk.

CHS first reported on the project from Burke way back in March 2014. Burke told CHS at the time that she was originally considered to be part of developer Liz Dunn’s first “marketplace” development at Melrose Market but wasn’t quite ready for the commitment. “Years ago, Liz asked if I was interested in Melrose,” Burke said. “Life is just about timing.”

CHS wrote about the Chophouse roster of food, drink, and retail tenants here including farm-to-ice cream cone champion Kurt Timmermeister who has taken a 300-square-foot patch of space for his dairy-powered cream and cheese ventureKurt Farm Shop which is already open, and a new Upper Bar Ferd’nand that will open later this summer. The new project built out of the shell of the old building that used to be home to Chophouse Studios also brings together Dunn’s 12th Ave Piston Ring building, the Thomas Kundig-designed 1111 E Pike building home to Cupcake Royale, and her E Pike Baker Linen building home to offices and Retrofit Home. The project was designed by Sundberg, Kennedy and Ly-Au Young, and Graham BabaYou can see pictures from the project’s opening party here.

Construction and this summer’s slog over various permits delayed Chop Shop’s planned June opening.

Chop Shop is located in the streetfront main suite of Chophouse Row on 11th Ave between Pike and Pine. You can learn more at

‘Hippie-chic’ boutique Haute Hibou makes Pike/Pine move from Ballard

574576_643542129006975_70971169_nA longtime design office on 11th and Pike next to Sam’s Tavern is being transformed into a new space for “hippie-chic” Seattle boutique Haute Hibou.

“It is a little nerve racking… and I am taking a pretty big risk because the rent is so expensive but it was one of those things where I either had to move forward and just do it or stay forever,” owner Rachel Brown said of her shop’s move from Ballard to Capitol Hill.

The new shop is expected to open by the coming weekend.

In addition to the high cost of a Pike/Pine lease, the move has come with other risks for Brown. As word of the new shop spread, Brown was taken to task for some of Haute Hibou’s social media including an image of a white woman wearing a Native American-style headdress. Brown said she’s open to criticism and interested in finding ways to connect better with the culture of her shop’s new home.

At Haute Hibou, Brown said she is really trying to go for a repurposed and recycled feel. Haute Hibou means the high owl in French, Brown says, and she wants to keep her materials natural and organic. Continue reading

Seattle tries to scale back new apartment buildings near single family homes

After two years of wrangling over what to do about “loopholes” in the lowrise zoning code, the City Council passed a series of code adjustments Monday in an attempt to rein in apartment building size near single-family homes.

With almost no deliberation and only a few comments, the Council passed the bill in an 8-1 vote. Council member Tom Rasmussen opposed the measure after he was only able to insert three of eight amendments he proposed in June to further curb the bulk and scale of certain buildings.

On Monday, Rasmussen cautioned that “exploitative” developers would have a “feast” destroying the city’s older housing stock under Council member Mike O’Brien’s compromise bill.

The vote caps years of bitter debate between vocal contingents of slow-growth advocates owners and pro-density urbanists. At issue was the character of the city’s lowrise zones — residential areas common on Capitol Hill that encourage “a wide variety of new housing … located in between mixed-use commercial areas and single-family neighborhoods.” Continue reading

Sound Transit seeks feedback on light rail to West Seattle, Ballard… and beyond

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 9.28.17 PMSound Transit 3, a “sales-tax, car-tab tax, and property-tax increases”-powered $15 billion package of projects for the agency to take on once its currently planned investments are complete in 2023, will go to the ballot in 2016. Right now, Sound Transit wants your help shaping the package:

The Sound Transit Board needs your help to determine which projects should be included in the ballot measure. The Board will also consider the findings of technical analysis about each project, feedback from the public and key stakeholders, and project cost considerations. The Board is made up of 17 elected officials throughout the Puget Sound region and the Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation. It is scheduled to release a draft plan for system expansion in early 2016 for public review and comment before advancing a final ballot measure for public vote in late 2016 or afterward.

Sound Transit is conducting a survey through Wednesday, July 9th collecting feedback on 39 alternatives on a “draft priority projects” list including multiple variants of light rail options connecting to Ballard and West Seattle. You can learn more about ST3 and take the survey here.

The Madison Bus Rapid Transit project is also included in the draft list.CHS reported on SDOT’s Madison BRT planning here. We’ll have to follow up to find out how the new Sound Transit package funding would mesh with the current planning process.

The survey provides the opportunity to weigh in on the individual importance of each of the draft items on the project list and also provide “top 3″ rankings for the regions Sound Transit serves. It also includes question #8 which seems to inform as much as it queries:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 9.24.59 PM

Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill light rail project, meanwhile, is on pace to begin service by early 2016. Isn’t that? a) awesome b) totally awesome or c) all of the above

Centered at 12th Ave’s Hedreen Gallery, Yellow Fish — Epic Durational Performance Festival starts this week

It won’t take much to help one of the only art performance festivals of its kind grow in independence for its third edition slated to start later this week at 12th Ave’s Hedreen Gallery.

The Yellow Fish — Epic Durational Performance Festival is only a few hundred dollars from its $6,000 goal to create a third year of “performances lasting a minimum of an hour and a maximum of 48 hours” — you can make your contribution here:

Artists from all over the world have been invited to perform at all moments of day and night. In its third year, the festival will have a monthlong run, made possible thanks to newly-created partnerships with Northwest Film Forum, Velocity Dance Center, Studio Current and New Tomorrow. Artifacts from all of the performances will accumulate at the Hedreen Gallery, where most of the festival’s events will take place.

“As the festival has grown exponentially since the two years of its creation, the costs have also increased. This year we were unable to receive any of the funding we had received in the prior editions,” organizer and artist Alice Gosti explains.

The festival is free to attend — so you might consider your donation a kind of spiritual downpayment for your free ticket.

The planned 2015 lineup is below: Continue reading

Eye Eye clinic and eyewear shop opening on E Pine

Artist rendering of the shop design for Eye Eye (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

Artist rendering of the shop design for Eye Eye (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

A few months ago, Bootyland moved out of its store at 1317 E Pine citing a steep increase in rent. The children’s clothing store will be replaced by Eye Eye, a new optometry clinic and eyewear store. In addition to possibly providing you with a fashionable set of frames and better vision, the change provides some small amount of insight into the retail lease market around Capitol Hill and, specifically, in Pike/Pine.

“The rent is not cheap, but I still see it as a good opportunity,” says Will Pentecost, the man behind Eye Eye. Originally from Tennessee, Pentecost is an optometrist who moved to Seattle in 2008.  For the past several years he has been practicing out of an optical shop in Columbia City and is excited about starting his own practice on Capitol Hill where he has lived since 2009.

EE-LogoPentecost said his business will work to be socially responsible by making making eye care more affordable for those without insurance. Uninsured customers will  have the option of signing-up for a monthly low fee  membership plan that will give them a  “significant discount” on eyeglasses, Pentecost told CHS.  People enrolled in Washington’s Medicaid program will receive free membership.

When it opens, Eye Eye will sell items such as luxury vintage eye frames and eyewear from independent and green-friendly companies. Customers will also receive what Pentecost says will be quicker service thanks to an on-site finishing lab.

Currently Eye Eye’s space is undergoing a complete renovation by Best Practice Architecture and Design. It is scheduled to open by August. Bootyland has since reopened in Wallingford.

Confederate memorial in Capitol Hill cemetery targeted

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

As the Charleston shootings have renewed and strengthened calls to eliminate the Confederate flag as a symbol of government in the southern United States, a Capitol Hill memorial to the soldiers of the Confederacy here in the Pacific Northwest has again been targeted.

Monday morning workers at 15th Ave E’s Lake View Cemetery were painstakingly scrubbing the porous granite of the United Confederate Veterans Memorial to remove a spray painted message against “white supremacy.”

The 89-year-old memorial hewn from a “10-ton” block of “Stone Mountain, Georgia” rock was created by the Seattle chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reportedly with money raised at “Dixie Day” during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. Rather than some kind of early 20th Century historical revisionists, the group included the actual daughters and wives of Confederate soldiers living in Seattle. Continue reading

Plan to massively expand Seattle bike share means delay for Central District service

1App-servicemap-575x772If a competitive federal grant comes through later this year, Seattle could see a massive, game-changing expansion of its bike sharing program, Pronto Cycle Share, in the coming years. The infusion of $10 million would allow for a much more rapid enlargement of the program’s service area over the current growth model based mostly on funding from sponsorships. In the meantime, ridership is approaching 4,000 trips a week across the first wave of stations in the system.

But while that service area expansion would envelope the Central District (and much more) by the end of 2017, it will push back plans to bring bike sharing to the neighborhood this year. Continue reading

Your post-4th of July 2015 Capitol Hill briefing

11062813_10207343139917772_8586112689591177844_nHere is the news you may have missed during the holiday week amid the fireworks and good times.