Pikes/Pines | A surge of spurge in Capitol Hill gardens

Popping up here and there in gardens around Capitol Hill are the flowers of a plant that seems to have come from a Seussian landscape. With beautiful evergreen blue-green leaves and now topped with large clusters of striking chartreuse disks, these spurges (Euphorbia) are popular shrubs for adding a bit of dramatic flair to yards and planters.

The most commonly planted species is the Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias), native to southern Europe, but several other species in the genus, including wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) are occasionally seen.

(Image: John Chau)

(Image: John Chau)

So what exactly are those chartreuse disks? Flowers would be the obvious answer, but take a closer look and they don’t appear quite like what one would expect.

A typical flower has petals, stamens (the male parts producing pollen), and a pistil (the female part producing seeds) inside. The spurge has something that looks similar, but each disk actually holds a collection of multiple flowers. The disk is a bract, or modified leaf, and above the bract are very small flowers and oftentimes a pair of additional bracts, each with its own cluster of tiny flowers. Each flower is highly reduced and consists of just a single small yellow stamen or a single green 3-lobed pistil. The unisexual flowers are surrounded by brown or yellow glands which produce nectar. This very unique arrangement of flowers is called a cyathium and is found throughout the genus Euphorbia.

You have almost certainly seen a cyathium before. The genus Euphorbia is among the largest in the plant kingdom with about 2000 species, and one of those is that favorite Christmas plant, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), which has cyathia above bright red bracts.

Another interesting feature of the spurge is found in the leaves and stems. When they are broken or damaged, they exude a milky-white and sticky sap that offers the plant protection against herbivores. The sap is toxic and irritating, and gardeners working with the plant should take care to avoid prolonged exposure on the skin. Milky sap, or latex, is common throughout the relatives of Euphorbia.

The latex of another species in the Euphorbia family, the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), is tapped to make natural rubber.


This week in CHS history | Crumble and Flake, new apartments, homeless stats, Lost Lake

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:


Police investigating after woman found dead in Madison Valley home

(Image: @AmeliaMayHodgen via Twitter)

(Image: @AmeliaMayHodgen via Twitter)

Seattle Police homicide detectives are investigating after a 30-year-old woman was found dead Saturday morning inside the Madison Valley home she shared with roommates.

Seattle Fire was called to the house near E Denny Way and 29th Ave E around 11 AM Saturday after a roommate reported finding the woman, according to radio dispatches. Efforts to revive the woman were not successful and she was declared dead at the scene.

Saturday afternoon, SPD said it was investigating the death. “Crime Scene Investigators and Homicide detectives are on scene collecting evidence,” the brief on the investigation said.

The woman has not yet been identified publicly by authorities.

The house is owned by real estate investors and, according to police radio reports, is home to multiple roommates. There were no obvious signs of fatal trauma and no arrests have been announced.

Seattle May Day 2015 turns into a riot on Capitol Hill

IMG_4329IMG_4330 IMG_4331 IMG_4332 IMG_4333 IMG_4334 IMG_4335 IMG_4336 IMG_4337There were 16 reported arrests and numerous injuries including three police officers sent to the hospital Friday night as clashes between protesters and police were concentrated on the streets of Capitol Hill for the third May Day in a row.

“This is no longer demonstration management, this has turned into a riot,” a voice crackled from command across the Seattle Police tactical radio channel. SPD later identified the speaker as Capt. Chris Fowler who again headed up the department’s May Day response this year.

CHS reported on the events as they happened — including drone sightings, a man stuck on a basketball hoop, and pictures of people taking Capitol Hill riot selfies. You can view the May Day 2015 on Capitol Hill timeline and reports here.

IMG_4209 IMG_3969 IMG_4238Again, an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 people took to the streets from Judkins Park to downtown in the annual pro-worker and immigration rights march and a Black Lives Matter rally in a peaceful demonstration.

And again in 2015, the violence and mayhem of May Day in Seattle was shoved back into Capitol Hill neighborhoods as police blocked the “anti-capitalist” and “anti-police” crowds that gathered at Broadway and Pine later that night from streaming into downtown with strong lines of armor-plated officers who deployed pepper spray, “less lethal” projectiles, and so many flash bangs that the efforts in East Precinct had to be re-supplied. Continue reading

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 26,000 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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Ritual House of Yoga moves into longtime theater space on 19th Ave E


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_2873With all the food and drink activity happening on 19th Ave E, it seemed almost inevitable that the long time performance space vacated by the Washington Ensemble Theatre last year would be the area’s next bar or restaurant. Even the space’s property owner thought so.

It turns out, there is still room for other types of sustenance in the neighborhood.

After 20 years as a theater, a new yoga studio is hoping to tap the space’s creative energy and breath new life into the storefront adjacent to Fuel coffee. Ritual House of Yoga will be holding an open house May 2nd-3rd, where the newly opened studio will offer 30 days of unlimited yoga for $40 to anyone who stops in. Classes officially start on Monday.

After spending years teaching and practicing in the yoga Mecca of Boulder, Colorado, Ritual co-owner Sarah Pohl said she was ready to harvest her range of experiences to create a studio of her own.

“We’re basing it more on a feeling of what we want to create than a certain style of yoga,” Pohl said, who’s opening the studio with her husband, Stuart Pohl. In a departure from many studios in the area, Pohl said she especially excited to offer non-heated and low-heated classes.

IMG_2830Ritual has also partnered with Capitol Hill’s Juice Box to bring a “micro juicery” refrigerator stocked with juices and a selection of raw food.

Pohl signed the lease on 19th Ave E in September after barely starting her search for a new space. The space’s natural light, cozy size, and location on the neighborhood’s commercial stretch sealed the deal for Pohl.

“I wanted this to feel like not just a yoga studio but a community space,” she said.

Last year, Capitol Hill lost a longtime yoga studio when Samadhi Yoga shuttered after 15 years at 12th and Pike. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s The Grinning Yogi appears to be going strong with its recent expansion to Portland while 8 Limbs recently marked 18 years and an overhauled studio in the redeveloped Greenus Building. Meanwhile, 10th Ave’s Sweatbox is trying to hang in until Pike/Pine development means new customers, not torn up streets.

Meanwhile, 19th Ave E will also be celebrating a reopening Friday as the Molly Moon’s ice cream window at Hello Robin debuts for the season with free scoops for kids from 3 to 5 PM.

For more on Ritual House of Yoga, visit ritualhouseseattle.com.

Sound Transit: The ‘restoration’ of Broadway and John about to begin

This image of the “conex box” was featured in our January 16th “week in pictures” post

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(Image: Sound Transit — so don’t blame us for the E Olive Way mistake)

It sounds nearly biblical. With service slated to begin in less than a year and the bulk of tunnel and station construction complete, Sound Transit has announced that its contractors will begin a new phase of work this weekend to recreate the sidewalk, curbs, and gutters around Capitol Hill Station along Broadway and E John. Details of the construction work are below including the planned removal Saturday of the big red “conex box” used for pedestrian safety along E John adjacent the construction site. Removal of the Big Red Wall is also underway along with the art projects that have accumulated on the block over the the past five years. Sound Transit estimates the restoration will take about six weeks.

Meanwhile, we’re told Sound Transit was preparing a response to Capitol Hill Housing’s protest over details of the proposal from Gerding Edlen for the Portland-based developer to lease or purchase — and then develop — the transit agency’s two acres of land surrounding Capitol Hill Station. All sides say the issue is moving forward and that they expect to have a resolution in place before a planned May 16th open house.

Restoration of Broadway and E. John Street starts May 2nd

Sound Transit’s contractor has obtained a noise variance from the City of Seattle to remove the pedestrian conex box on E. John Street between Broadway and 10th Avenue E. from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, May 2, 2015. Residents may hear noise from the equipment used to remove the conex box and from trucks used to load and haul the pieces from the site.

There will be intermittent closures of the eastbound curb lane on E. John Street in order to safely complete the removal. A police officer and flaggers will direct vehicles and pedestrians around the work area.

Following the conex box removal, crews will begin to demolish the red wall at this location, then install curbs, gutters and sidewalks along the east side of Broadway between E. Denny Way and E. John Street and along E. John Street between Broadway and 10th Avenue E.

On-street parking will be restricted along Broadway between E. Denny Way and E. John Street during restoration work. This phase of restoration is expected to take approximately six weeks to complete, depending on weather.
What to expect:

  • Flaggers and detour signage will direct vehicles and pedestrians around the work area. Intermittent daytime noise from demolition and saws and jackhammers as crews break up concrete and repave the area.
  • Sidewalk closures and restricted on-street parking in the work area.

Further updates will be provided as work proceeds in the area.

No ban on sombreros as radio station again brings taco trucks, 5K run to Volunteer Park

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

KNDD, Seattle’s Entercom-backed “alternative rock” station, is once again sponsoring the Taco Truck Challenge and “¡Fiesta 5K Olé!” in Volunteer Park but the station’s management is distancing itself from any controversy related to the fourth year of the event.

With increased awareness of negative stereotypes sometimes reinforced by Cinco de Mayo promotions and events, organizers hope Saturday’s KNDD fiesta mixing taco trucks, booze, and runners won’t represent some of the worst elements of cultural misappropriation.

“Our intention has never been to offend, but to provide a fun event involving food trucks, running, and live music,” KNDD event director Ryan Schroeder told CHS last month. “Following last year’s event we received feedback and are taking it all into consideration as we continue in the planning stages of this year’s event.” Continue reading

A(nother) Capitol Hill restaurant closure with (probably) nothing to do with the minimum wage

Lunak (Image: Kaisho)

Lunak (Image: Kaisho)

Just days after the Broadway location of an international pizza chain announced it would be closing because of the city’s minimum wage rules for franchises, another chain restaurant Capitol Hill restaurant has closed.

But you can’t curse Kshama Sawant for this one, Dori Monson.

The tech money-powered investors behind the Boom Noodle and Blue C chains of Japanese-flavored concept restaurants are once again rebooting the space at 12th and Pike born as one of the many Booms and eventually transformed into the one-off Kaisho late last year.

The experiment lasted a few months.

Here’s how we described it last year as part of a wave of Asian-inspired openings planned for the Hill:

On the other end of the investment spectrum, Kaisho should open later this summer in the former home of Boom Noodle on E Pike. Backed by the same corporate entity behind the Blue C and Boom Noodle ventures, Kaisho is the creation of Madison Holdings Chief Culinary Officer – and “former protégé of “Iron Chef” Morimoto,” apparently — Jeffrey Lunak. Talking to us from Napa, Lunak told CHS the Kaisho concept was shifted from Bellevue to E Pike as the company decided a plan to expand Blue C would better suit its larger Eastside space. Unlike Blue C’s goals of global sushi conquest, Lunak says Kaisho and its base $200,000 upgrade is “our first step into partnering with very talented chefs” to create unique, single-location dinging experiences. At Kaisho, you’ll find “Chef de Cuisine” Kalen Schramke, formerly of Terra Plata, and a “combination of global influences, Asian flare and local ingredients.”

In Kaisho’s place, the company is planning a reboot of the original Boom concept, according to a Twitter message announcing the abrupt closure.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill is bursting with new noodle joints. Thursday, Japanese import Kukai Ramen opens officially on E Pine after a week of soft service. CHS told you about the new ramen offerings — and Kukai’s special roasted bone broth — here. But, wait, there’s more. Slog says University District favorite U:Don’s new 12th Ave Arts location is also open as of Thursday. We told you here about the incoming “Fresh Japanese Noodle Station” last year as plans for the new development were coming together. The rest of the arts and affordable housing-focused development’s trio of food and drink offerings will be ready in coming weeks including a planned June 1 opening for the new Capitol Hill Rachel’s Ginger Beer location. If you’re still hungry, there’s also a new Japanese offering on E Union as Gokan by Musashi and its focus on the art of sushi has opened in new construction on the rapidly developing blocks south of Pike.

Thanks to LaRisa for the tip!

SIFF 2015 will celebrate at the Egyptian with film (and Kevin Bacon), hold a few last picture shows at the Harvard Exit

With its investment to revive Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre at its core and a special “24-day celebratory wake” for the dearly departed Harvard Exit, the Seattle International Film Festival has announced its 2015 lineup.

“This year’s Festival is bigger and more international than ever, with a record 92 countries represented,” SIFF artistic director Carl Spence said in the announcement detailing the 41st edition of the film festival.

Last year’s fest was highlighted by the news SIFF was signing a 10-year deal to take over E Pine’s Egyptian. This year starting May 14th, the festival will include the final screenings at the Harvard Exit theater before the venue is ripped out as part of a redevelopment of the historically protected building at Roy and Broadway.

SIFF 2015 by the numbers:  450 films / 92 countries / 193 feature films / 70 documentary features / 19 archival films / 164 short films / 4 secret films / 49 World Premieres (23 features, 26 shorts) / 51 North American Premieres (33 features, 18 shorts) / 18 US Premieres (7 features, 11 shorts)

Northwest Connections
Seattleites see more films per capita than the residents of any other American city. This year’s lineup of films with their roots in the Pacific Northwest reveals a filmmaking region officially on the map. Every year, SIFF honors the many ways in which the Puget Sound region contributes to the world of cinema, whether it’s as an evocative location for outside filmmakers or inspiration for local filmmakers on the rise.

Ronald McFondle, Eddie Van Glam, The Banana star in Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana

Ronald McFondle, Eddie Van Glam, The Banana star in Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana

  • Beach Town (d: Erik Hammen c: Sarah Winsor, Ahren Buhmann, Riley Neldam, Kenna Kettrick, William Poole, USA 2015, 72 min, World Premiere)
  • Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana (d: Ryan Harvie, John Paul Hortsmann c: Ronald McFondle, Eddie Van Glam, The Banana, USA 2015, 86 min)
  • The Hollow One (d: Nathan Hendrickson c: Kate Alden, Jesse James, Chelsea Farthing, Tony Doupé, Tonya Skoog, USA 2015, 97 min, World Premiere)
  • Paper Tigers (d: James Redford, USA 2015, 102 min, World Premiere)
  • Personal Gold: An Underdog Story (d: Tamara Christopherson s: Jennie Reed, Dotsie Bausch, Sarah Hammer, USA/Spain, United Kingdom 2015, 89 min)
  • Pilchuck, A Dance with Fire (d: John Forsen v: Jeff Bridges, USA 2015, 68 min)
  • The Primary Instinct (d: David Chen f: Stephen Tobolowsky, USA 2015, 73 min, World Premiere)
  • Uncertain (d: Ewan McNichol, Anna Sandilands, USA 2015, 82 min)
  • Valley of the Sasquatch (d: John Portanova c: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, D’Angelo Midili, Jason Vail, David Saucedo, Bill Oberst Jr., USA 2015, 92 min)
  • West of Redemption (d: Cornelia Duryee Moore c: Billy Zane, Kevin Alejandro, Mariana Klaveno, USA 2015, 90 min, World Premiere)

In addition to cinematic works large and small and from around the globe and around the Puget Sound, the festival will give Seattle celebrity spotters the opportunity to, perhaps, view A-listers Kevin Bacon and Jason Schwartzman in the wild. Bacon will be honored for career achievement (in 2014, SIFF honored CHS’s girlfriend Laura Dern) and Schwartzman will be featured in an “evening with” event in conjunction with a screening of his new film 7 Chinese Brothers.  To kick off the festival, the 2015 SIFF Opening Night gala will include a screening of Spy attended by director and writer Paul Feig.

The full announcement on SIFF 2015 is below. Tickets and passes are now on sale at siff.netContinue reading