Capitol Hill food+drink | Challenged by construction, boosted by events and private parties, Zoe leaving restaurant biz

Zoe opened on Capitol Hill in February 2012 (Image: CHS)

Zoe opened on Capitol Hill in February 2012 (Image: CHS)

6884291377_e6cd0d5e47_bA mix of success with their growing events business and challenges to fine dining in the relentless development and construction zone that is Capitol Hill have convinced longtime Seattle food and drink veterans Heather and Scott Staples to transform 14th and Union’s Restaurant Zoe.

There is time for one last romantic dinner in Zoe as a full-fledged restaurant space — but after Valentine’s Day, it’s all about events.

“Fine dining has always been a bit of a challenge and a labor of love,” Heather Staples tells CHS. “Coupled with the construction challenges, it made it easier.”

Staples tells CHS that bookings at Staples Restaurant Group’s existing event space at Sole Repair — behind their Quinn’s Pub at 10th and Pike — have remained strong and present a new opportunity for the Staples as they transition yet again through 20 years of business in Seattle.

“I’ve had to really become an activist,” Staples said. “I feel like the city has really mismanaged the construction zone. We were just completely overwhelmed.”

“20 years we’ve been here, this is the toughest time,” she said. Continue reading

SPD investigating attempted kidnapping of a woman on Capitol Hill

Stock Photo provided by SPD.

Stock photo provided by SPD.

Seattle police detectives are searching for a man who allegedly tried to kidnap a woman last week by forcing her into his truck.

The 29-year-old woman told police she was walking near Bellevue and E Pine on February 2nd around 11:30 PM when a man driving in a dark blue pickup truck pulled alongside her, grabbed her arms, and told her to get in his car. When others noticed the woman screaming, the suspect drove off.

The victim was unharmed. After working the case for a week, detectives are now turning to the public for help. SPD released the following details on the suspect:

The woman described the suspect as a white male in his 40’s, 5’08”-5’10”, medium build, wearing a dark beanie or wool cap. The victim believed the suspect may had a cigarette in his mouth at the time of the incident.

A witness described the truck as a dark blue 2000 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup truck, with tinted windows.

If you have any information in this or similar cases please call Detective Michelle Gallegos at (206)684-5767.

SDOT says federal money for 1st Ave line won’t change Broadway streetcar extension plan

CCCSmallStartsApplication10-23-2015Officials say progress on a $75 million federal grant for a planned 1st Ave streetcar won’t necessarily affect the schedule for a possible 2017 start of construction for a two-stop Broadway extension to the recently opened First Hill route.

Tuesday, Seattle Department of Transportation officials said that the White House’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget — the last for President Barack Obama — includes 0.00182926829% for Seattle’s planned Center City Connector streetcar route envisioned as linking the First Hill Streetcar with the South Lake Union line by 2019. In total, SDOT says 25,000 riders per day could use the system — though few would find it useful to complete the Broadway to Westlake circuit via Occidental Square.

According to SDOT, the recommendation is only a first step toward a final grant agreement, which can only be completed after Congress approves the budget, “so we don’t expect the grant agreement before late 2016/early 2017.” Construction of the 1st Ave line would begin in 2017 and operations would mostly likely begin in 2019, a SDOT spokesperson said. Continue reading

Seattle has $7.6 million emergency plan for homeless and encampment sweeps

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(Images: CHS)

When Mayor Ed Murray declared Seattle in a homeless state of emergency, it help put into motion $7.6 million to be spent on alleviating the crisis (not to mention the $40 million already budgeted for homeless services this year). On Wednesday, City Council members will be reviewing a plan on how to spend it. Using a mix of mayor-directed emergency funds and City Council-added money, the draft plan is broken into three categories:

  • Prevention efforts: $2.9 million
  • Supporting people to move out of encampments: $2.5 million
  • Meeting basic needs: $2.2 million

How the City “supports” people moving out of non-permitted encampments has received a considerable amount of attention — a debate that will continue during Wednesday’s human services committee meeting. The procedures for conducting sweeps are outlined in a 2008 “multi-departmental administrative rule.” Technically, there is little the City Council can do to change it, but some council members are calling for encampment clean-ups to halt altogether.

“I think sweeps are fundamentally problematic,” said District 3 rep Kshama Sawant during a Council hearing last week.

In the 11 weeks after the Mayor’s state of emergency declaration, the City conducted 38 encampment sweeps, which it says it does primarily for safety reasons. Critics say the sweeps are an unnecessary disruption for those choosing to live outside. Only 40% of the 184 people present at the sites accepted shelter, according to numbers presented during a City Council briefing last month.

Encampments - 1 of 6

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill Valentine violinist

Valentine's Violin - 1 of 6

While we were thinking about different ways to say I love you on Capitol Hill, CHS found Alen̈a hard at work Tuesday at the 15th and John Safeway earning money for a new violin with some Valentine-worthy performance. Stop by with your sweetie and drop a dollar or two in the can for love.

Second Capitol Hill pot shop approved for 15th Ave

IMG_5911The owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop may finally realize his aspirations to open a recreational marijuana store in his 15th and Republican building, even if the business itself isn’t his.

A West Seattle medical marijuana entrepreneur has been given the green light by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to open a retail marijuana shop in the space last home to the Capitol Hill Family Arcade.

The permit approval for Lion’s Heart puts owner Daniela Bernhard one step closer to opening Capitol Hill’s second pot shop in a building owned by fellow potreprenuer Ian Eisenberg. Bernhard was a co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle prior to moving ahead with her Capitol Hill business.

Bernhard did not respond to CHS requests for comment and Eisenberg said he could not comment on the approval. Continue reading

Election Day reminder: Last day to vote on school levies

Seattle's new Education Director Dwane Chappelle (Image:

Murray and Seattle’s first ever Education Director, Dwane Chappelle (Image:

Where are all the Schools First parties at? It’s a quiet version of the madhouse you can expect come November — but it’s still Election Day.

Tuesday, February 9th, 8:00 PM is the deadline to get your ballot postmarked or delivered to a drop-off location or accessible voting center. And, don’t forget, the Broadway post office is now open in its new location.

CHS outlined the two school levies on the ballot for Seattle voters last month. Seattle Public Schools is expected to add 4,000 students by 2020 to its current 52,000 student population. Officials, including Mayor Ed Murray, say the levies are crucial to meeting the demands of the school’s growing population and uncertain funding future with the state. Murray is also pushing for a new $290 million housing levy that could hit the ballot this summer — or join the crazy rush of democracy we’ll be fortunate to experience this November.

Meanwhile, Seattle school kids will have a familiar face in a new role to help make sure the levy money is well spent. Monday, the City Council confirmed the selection of Dwane Chappelle as the first ever Education Director for Seattle:

City Council voted unanimously to confirm Dwane Chappelle as the new Director for the Department of Education and Early Learning today. Chappelle served as principal for Rainier Beach High School since 2011 and, under his leadership, achieved a 79 percent graduation rate that exceeded the district average. Chappelle also garnered great success with the school’s International Baccalaureate program.

The Council announced Chappelle’s goals include “implementing the ambitious Seattle Preschool Program phase-in schedule,” and “working with Seattle Public Schools to address the persistent opportunity gap minority students face.” He’ll also be tasked with pushing forward education levies: the Families and Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy. Both expire in 2018.


Vulcan shares an early view of the redevelopment of 23rd and Jackson

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By Ross Armstrong, UW News Lab / Special to CHS

Community members packed the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center Thursday night (Image: Ross Armstrong)

Community members packed the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center Thursday night (Image: Ross Armstrong)

Vulcan’s plans for the southeast corner of 23rd and Jackson appear to be on a fast track following a set of community meetings in the Central District last week. The developer said it is gearing up for a design review process from a project with some 570 apartment units to begin — perhaps — as early as next month. Meanwhile, attendees at one of the community meetings unsurprisingly expressed concerns about the real estate giant’s development plans and the rapid change coming to the area.

Central District residents turned out in droves Thursday night to see early design concepts for a new apartment complex in the neighborhood from Vulcan and Runberg Architecture Group. Much of the community focus was on affordability and whether the project’s planned mix of units was right for the neighborhood. One mother spoke up about her two sons who had decent paying jobs but had to move away due to the costs.

Plans submitted to the city describe a complex of two five-story buildings and two seven-story buildings, interconnected around a courtyard. In all 570 units are planned in the 693,000 square-foot project. The project does not yet appear on the Design Review Board schedule but Vulcan representatives said they plan to begin the public process in March. Continue reading

Capitol Hill environmental advocate thickens 43rd District race

(Image: Friends of Sameer Ranade)

(Image: Friends of Sameer Ranade)

The 43rd District may represent a large swath of Central Seattle in Olympia but the race — for now, at least — will be filled with Capitol Hill candidates.

Sameer Ranade, a Capitol Hill resident and campaign associate for the Washington Environmental Council, has announced his campaign for the 43rd District seat being left vacant as Rep. Brady Walkinshaw sets his sights on Washington D.C.

“Environmental protection and social justice have been the driving force of my career,“ Ranade said in his announcement. “I seek to make good on the legal obligation our state has to future generations by achieving our statutory limits to reduce heat-trapping, ocean acidifying carbon emissions and to fully fund basic education.” Continue reading

Group calls for support of ‘HALA-Approved’ tax break for low-income friendly landlords

12540546_508685349303219_5586000605697343763_nThe Seattle For Everyone group — “a broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor and social justice advocates, environmentalists and urbanists, all united to build an equitable, prosperous, thriving, and inclusive Seattle” — Monday night sent its members a call to rally support for Washington Senate Bill 6239:

Pass the HALA-Approved Preservation Tax Exemption Today!

The fiscal cutoff in Olympia is hours away, which means we need to make sure the Senate Ways & Means Committee knows how important it is to advance SB 6239 immediately! This bill will give local communities the option of creating an important tool to preserve and improve affordable housing in our communities.

We also need to send a message to King County Assessor John Wilson and ask him to support the HALA-approved Preservation Tax Exemption bill as well. Assessor Wilson introduced legislation for his own idea of a preservation program, which was entirely separate from the multi-month stakeholder process that brought together affordable housing advocates, race and social justice organizations, developers, property owners, human service advocates, and local governments in agreement behind SB 6239. He is now requesting to have significant affordability provisions in SB 6239 removed or weakened. His changes, if successful, would weaken the program and result in less affordability for King County residents Worse, there is a serious risk that any last-minute attempts to radically change the proposal during a short legislative session could result in the bill not being advanced whatsoever.

URGENT: Click Here to Take Action to Save the Preservation Tax Exemption Today!

CHS reported on the Preservation Tax Exemption legislation here among a bevy of Capitol Hill-related bills introduced in the latest session in Olympia. the bipartisan bill would give rental property owners a 15-year break on their property taxes in exchange for reserving a quarter of the building’s apartments for low-income families earning less than 50 to 60% of the area median income.

The Stranger took a look at the Seattle For Everyone coalition here last year. You can learn more about Seattle For Everyone and sign up for updates at

Next week, the Capitol Hill Community Council is also planning an event to help inform the neighborhood about Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda:

12698350_10154537142688696_7839354132057498017_oKnow Your Rights, Grow Your Rights
Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 PM
12th Avenue Arts — 1620 12th Ave
One part education about your existing rights as tenants/renters – one part exploring upcoming opportunities to expand those rights through HALA and other housing efforts in Seattle.