Pike/Pine club owner says gang ‘terrorizing’ Capitol Hill — UPDATE: SPD looking for groups responsible for 22 street robberies

As police officials have said they plan to continue increased patrols in the area following a call from the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce for more SPD presence on the streets of Pike/Pine, a prominent Capitol Hill business owner has sent a letter about “gang activity” on Capitol Hill to Mayor Ed Murray, city officials, local business owners, and local media outlets including CHS.

“I’m writing to plead with you Mr Mayor, that something be done about the gang (usually described as Somali) that is ever present on Capitol Hill,” says Neumos and Lost Lake partner Jason Lajeunesse about what he says have been two years of harassment and violence in Pike/Pine. Continue reading

Merchants old and new holding first ever 15th Ave E sidewalk festival

The merchants of 15th Ave E have declared the start of Capitol Hill’s fall festival season. If you’re ready to celebrate “all that makes 15th Avenue East so special,” you’ll be excited for the party being planned by the 15th Avenue East Merchants Association for this Sunday: 

15th Avenue East Sidewalk Fest Sunday September 7, 2-6 pm

We here at the 15th Avenue East Merchants Association are thrilled to announce our first ever event! The 15th Avenue East Sidewalk Fest will take place on what hopes to be a lovely fall afternoon on the commercial stretch of 15th Ave East from E. John St. to E. Mercer St.

As the name implies, this festival will all take place on the sidewalks in front of the shops and restaurants of our cozy corner of Capitol Hill.

There will be live music, modern dance, DJs, poetry readings, lots of free stuff, hair, health and beauty demos, tastings, and many of the participating merchants will be offering raffles for goods and services! We look forward to seeing our community come out and celebrate all that makes 15th Avenue East so special!

CHS last reported on the merchant group’s works in 2013 as restaurant and shop owners on the street got together to better represent the area in dealings with City Hall and in marketing efforts like Sunday’s street fair. Headed by longtime business owners in the area like Ross Kling of Rainbow Natural Remedies and Jeremy Hardy of Coastal Kitchen, the group takes a low key approach similar to the sometimes laid back style of 15th Ave. There are no Twitter accounts or Facebook pages.

There is the continued success and growth on 15th, however. New additions like Ada’s book shop and co-working space, and the newly overhauled Canterbury have been part of continuing the injection of new life in the street while longtime favorites like Hopvine, LibertyRed Balloon and Remedy Teas continue to do their things. More projects like Sur 16′s overhaul of the old Bagel Deli and the new Nuflours cafe are coming. As is more development. The merchant association members can hope events like Sunday can help maintain the unified spirit of the street.

Music shop turned supplier to Capitol Hill DJs, Platinum Records searching for new home after 20 years on E Pike


With the sometimes relentless change underway around Pike/Pine and Broadway, you can pretty much take your pick of beloved neighborhood attributes and make an argument proving that special quality is “dying” on Capitol Hill.

We don’t know if music is “dying” but we do know that the world’s leading supplier to Capitol Hill DJs and E Pike guitar gods is having to uproot from its longtime E Pike home after 20 years. Here’s a post from owners Scott McQuain and Ali Tabatabaie reporting his Platinum Records Seattle location is on the move:

To all my Seattle peeps – after twenty years we finally lost our lease at the Seattle Platinum Records. While we look for a new space, we need to clear everything out. I’ll be here all week, so come on down and do some wheelin’ and dealin’! Store fixtures are available also, if you know anybody that’s looking. Display cases, truss, desks, everything must go. Major blowout pricing on vinyl, and now is the time to make us an offer on gear. Major Labor Day Week sale!

Kippy ready to serve back in 2012 (Image: CHS)

Kippy ready to serve back in 2012 (Image: CHS)

CHS stopped by the 915 E Pike shop in 2012 to learn more about the shop’s transformation from music shop to DJ gear and rock band outfitter:

 Located on E Pike since 1994, Platinum sells not only vinyl, but turntables, mixers, lighting — the standard accoutrement and tools needed for the men and women behind the ones and twos.

Platinum’s goal is to be a one stop shop for all things DJ, but there has been enough of a mandate from shoppers that they have now moved into areas that start to blur the line between a DJ shop and a traditional music store.

“We’re starting to get into guitars, picks, guitar strings, drum sticks, because there’s nowhere else on the Hill. We’re kind of venturing out, and honestly, it’s been a hit. We’ve been going through guitar strings like crazy,” said Platinum’s manager of ten years, Kippy.

A check of permits doesn’t reveal anything about what’s next for the E Pike space. Across the street, music lovers will still have High Voltage around — we hope! — for guitar and gearhead browsing.

The Portland Platinum continues to operate at 104 SW 2nd Ave.

We have messages out to Platinum’s ownership to learn more about what’s next. With Chop Suey up for sale, maybe some kind of music miracle pairing can be worked out.

Capitol Hill apartment boom getting new ripples as 15th Ave E development moves foward

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

There are more signs that developers expect Capitol Hill’s building boom to continue and demand for apartments to remain steady if not continue soaring. CHS has learned details of a project moving forward to create a new four-story, 60-unit apartment building on 15th Ave E.

According to filings with the city, developer John Links of The Metropolitan Companies is moving forward on a plan to redevelop the lot currently home to Salal Credit Union in the 100 block of 15th Ave E across from Group Health. The planned building will stand four stories, be planned for 60 units and could have two levels of underground parking.

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Seattle lawyer killed in 2nd Ave bike crash was former Hill resident

Kung, right, her partner Christine Sanders and daughter Bryn

Kung, left, her partner Christine Sanders and daughter Bryn

Friends and family are remembering Sher Kung, the woman who died Friday morning after being struck by a vehicle as she biked only blocks from her work on Seattle’s dangerous — and about to be transformed — 2nd Ave.

The 31-year-old Kung and her partner had recently welcomed a daughter into the world. A giving fund has been created in her memory to help support the young family that Kung leaves behind:

Sher Kung was a beautiful, active and caring person that was loved by everyone who had the honor of knowing her. A life lived with heart, joy, passion, and such soaring love for her family and friends. Her cheery smile, positive attitude and warm, energetic personality will be missed by many. Sher was tragically taken from her family and friends in a bike accident, leaving behind her partner Christine and their seven-month old girl, Bryn as well as many family members and friends.

A memorial "Ghost Bike" left near the intersection where Kung was struck and killed (Image: CHS)

A memorial “Ghost Bike” left near the intersection where Kung was struck and killed (Image: CHS)

In 2011, the Perkins Coie lawyer helped bring down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” while working with the ACLU.

Kung and her partner had recently purchased a home together near Woodland Park Zoo. They both had previously called Capitol Hill home.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports the city has been preparing 2nd Ave for new protected bike lanes similar to the Broadway bikeway.

Capitol Hill theater company stages one final performance before move to 12th Ave Arts

Inside the future home of the Main Stage at 12th Ave Arts (Image: CHS)

Inside the future home of the Main Stage at 12th Ave Arts (Image: CHS)

Ali el-Gasseir's WET will be one of three theater groups resident in the new development (Image: CHS)

Ali el-Gasseir’s WET will be one of three theater groups resident in the new development (Image: CHS)

By Rayna Stackhouse with reporting by Justin Carder

Greg Carter and Strawberry Theatre Workshop aren’t about to get rich. But the company is putting on one last show on Capitol Hill the old-fashioned theatre way.

“Our industry doesn’t work very well in a capitalist model,” says Carter. “The rich get rich, while the poor get poorer.”

While the city’s behemoth performance and arts organizations like Seattle Opera have a full staff to raise money, sell tickets and can support and pay their performers, small theater companies around Capitol Hill typically barely scrape by. The money they make is mostly from tickets and booze, Carter says.

The 12th Ave Arts building, slated to open in early November, should help change that equation for Strawshop and its two companion theater companies, Washington Ensemble Theatre and New Century Theater Company, teaming up to form a new kind of arts organization resident in the new Capitol Hill Housing development.

Capitol Hill Housing and Black Box representatives were on hand this week for a “hard hat” tour of the new building. The $38 million, 29,000 square-foot 12th Ave Arts project is creating 88 affordable apartment units, office space, retail space and a theater facility above parking that will also be utilized by Seattle Police’s East Precinct.

The project is the result of a two-decade push from community groups and organizations to create something greater with the East Precinct parking lot that used to call the land home.

Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath said it was community pressure that finally moved the project through the mire at City Hall.

“These citizen volunteers went down there and said there’s a better use for this,” he said about the old, barbed wire-ringed police parking lot.

In a most unusual twist on the typical “mixed-use” development around the Hill, 12th Ave Arts will also have two fully tricked out, state of the art performance spaces totaling nearly 6,000 square feet: one with room for 149 seats, the other Studio Stage with an 80-person capacity. Hardcore theater geeks will nerd out at the catwalks above and sound suppression enveloping both venues. Continue reading

Happy Labor Day 2014


The burgers are free. So is the parking. Tip double. It’s Labor Day.

The Volunteer Park Wading marks its final day of the 2014 season (PDF). Metro is a on a “Sunday” schedule.

In Seattle, land of the worker, we’ll begin the long march to $15/hour minimum wage in the new year. Nothing can stop us… probably:

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is asking the restaurant and lodging industries to pony up $1.1 million for a signature blitzkrieg that would put on the ballot an initiative to repeal Seattle’s new $15-an-hour minimum wage.

If you’re feeling the need for a Labor Day rally, head to Westlake.

Labor Day Rally at Westlake Plaza to be held on Monday September 1 2014.

SEATTLE – El Comité, the May 1st Action Coalition, and social justice advocates will hold a rally in support of the 11 million plus undocumented workers in the United States as well as the various workers across the country that are struggling for dignity and respect in the workplace. Event details are as follows: Continue reading

East Precinct’s 2014 picnic: free hot dogs, Hill crime spike concerns and larger questions around policing

Capt. Davis talks with East Precinct picnic attendees (Images: CHS)

Capt. Davis talks with East Precinct picnic attendees (Images: CHS)

IMG_9419Saturday’s annual East Precinct community picnic had a little more going on this year than just hot dogs. Held in Cal Anderson for the first time, the free hot dogs, information booths and chance to check out the bomb squad gear came as local Capitol Hill crime issues have come to a head again this summer and as larger issues around policing have emerged from the Ferguson protests.

East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis was on hand along with top brass including Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

Davis said questions about the militarization of police are worthy of debate but that the Seattle’s police force isn’t being armed by Homeland Security.IMG_9529

Chief O'Toole

Chief O’Toole

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A century of use for Capitol Hill’s Gilda’s Club building

Seattle writer and historian Dotty DeCoster has been nice enough to share many of her essays and reports with CHS over the years. She first published this piece in 2009 — we’ve updated it and are happy to share it with readers again as Gilda’s Club prepares for its first ever Red Door campaign.

By Dotty DeCoster
This story is about the building at 1400 Broadway (corner of Union) that is home to Gilda’s Club of Seattle. It is the only Greek Revival edifice in the immediate neighborhood, and the front doors are bright red. The outside of the building is much as it was when it was built in 1912 and Johnson & Hamilton moved up from First Avenue. Until 1965, the building was the Johnson & Hamilton funeral parlor.

Charles F. Johnson and his wife Sophia, and Frank Hamilton and his wife Crissie Rankin Hamilton came to Seattle from Fargo, North Dakota, and set up the third mortuary in Seattle at 2127 First Avenue in 1902. Apparently, the families had met in Fargo – the Hamiltons were originally from Ontario and the Johnsons from Minneapolis. It is likely that by 1911 the confusion and mess generated by the regrades downtown impelled Johnson & Hamilton to look for a new site for their business. 1400 Broadway was a vacant lot right on a streetcar line with a livery stable behind it (east) and automobile garages to the north and northeast. Architect Daniel Riggs Huntington designed the building and it appears likely that the builder was William W. Noyes.

Daniel R. Huntington, A.I.A., (1871-1962) had a long and distinguished architectural career in Seattle, including serving as City Architect for a time. He was also a distinguished painter. On Capitol Hill, in addition to the Johnson-Hamilton building, he designed Fire Station #7 at 402 15th Avenue E., the Rainier Chapter House of the Daughters of the American Revolution at 800 E. Roy, the Norcliffe Apartments at 1119 Boren, and his own residence at 1800 E. Shelby.

First known as undertakers, then as funeral parlors, finally as a funeral home, the Johnson & Hamilton business continued until the mid-1920s. Continue reading

One year ago this week on Capitol Hill

Here are the top CHS posts from this week in 2013:

  1. 1239913_669813809697469_1953256674_nWorld of Beer to collide with Capitol Hill
  2. Broadway bikeway gets paved above ground, light rails finished below
  3. Has Seattle ‘ratpocalypse’ spread to Capitol Hill?
  4. 21 marijuana stores planned for Seattle, 1,000-foot rule changed
  5. Heavy rains, slick roads forecasted after the most amazing Seattle summer ever*
  6. Look inside latest apartment building to hit Capitol Hill rental market, get a sneak peek at the next
  7. ‘Big Fun’ bar project slated for former Velo bike shop space
  8. Ahead of city’s quake readiness mandates, some Hill building owners fight, others get to work
  9. Central Co-op inks deal another five years at 16th and Madison

 

Be ready to enjoy the rare stink as Volunteer Park Conservatory’s corpse flower prepares to bloom

(Image: Friends of the Conservatory)

(Image: Friends of the Conservatory)

A rarefied stench in the air? There is expected to be one any day now at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Visitors over the next few weeks may have the chance to experience a rare botanical occurrence through multiple senses as one of the corpse flowers now on display at the Conservatory is blossoming and shooting upwards. The plant is expected to bloom and release an odor that has been described as “a cross between rotting flesh and Limburger cheese” within the next two weeks.

Corpse flowers typically require seven to ten years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time. This will be the first time the particular plant has bloomed since arriving in Capitol Hill in 2006, the Seattle PI reported, and the fist time any corpse flower has bloomed at the Conservatory since 2008, the Friends of the Conservatory group said.

Though CHS is not casting a prediction on precisely when the plant will bloom, the Conservatory’s “official spokescat” Ivan Von Katzen offered this forecast in a Facebook post Thursday:

Corpse Flower Watch: Our new buddy is on display at the Conservatory in the Bromeliad House and it grew an inch overnight! It now reaches 31″ and is growing fast! We anticipate the flower will be in full fragrant bloom within the next two weeks.Come take a look at this rare wonder Tuesday- Saturday [*Sunday] from 10:00 am – 3:00 PM – 1400 East Galer Street, Seattle WA — at Volunteer Park Conservatory.

Once the plant blooms, the supporting structure of its flowers, or the “spathe,” will likely only stay open for about 12 hours before starting to wilt, sources indicate, though some corpse flower spathes have been reported to stay open for one or two whole days.

Native to western Sumatra, the corpse flower is known as bunga bangkai (“corpse flower”) in Indonesian or by the Greek name Amorphophallus titanum, or more commonly titum arum. In addition to the particular odor it emits when blooming, the titum arum produces the largest non-branched “inflorescence,” or group of flowers, of any plant in the world. Friends of the Conservatory explains:

Once a blossom appears, the corpse flower grows rapidly and can reach a height of over 10-feet within the course of a few weeks.  It grows from a large tuber which can reach 150 pounds or more.

After its first bloom, the titum arum will typically bloom again after anywhere from another two to five years, to another seven to ten years, Friends of the Conservatory reported.

In addition to seeing one reaching bloom, you can also have a chance to win a 2-year-old titum arum of your own by coming up with a personal name for the blossoming corpse flower at the Conservatory. The “Name a Corpse Flower, Win a Corpse Flower” contest is on. Potential plant-namers can turn in their suggestions at the Conservatory, where entry forms are available at the gift shop, or via Twitter by sending their ideas to the spokescat — @Ivan_Von_Katzen.

The titum arum about to bloom at the Volunteer Park Conservatory was donated by the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse some eight years ago, the Seattle PI reported. It should soon be adding to a small pool of statistics: when a corpse flower bloomed at the conservatory in Como Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2013, only about 125 corpse flower blooms were said to have been documented worldwide since 1880.

The stench of corpse flower blooms do serve a purpose beyond generating sensational blog posts. The smell of rotting flesh emitted attracts insects such as the carrion-eating beetles and “flesh flies” that pollinate the plant in its natural habitats. Meanwhile, the flowers’ red color and their texture are said to add to the illusion that they are pieces of meat.

Something to chew on maybe if you make it to the Conservatory to check out the events now unfolding.

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 18,000 19,000 20,000 21,000 22,000 photographs — most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line – our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea.
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