‘Something to get motivated’ — Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival turns 20

After attending a gay film festival in San Francisco’s in the early 1990s, artist Skylar Fein knew he wanted to create the same kind of celebration in Seattle. He tested the waters in 1995 then held the first Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 1996. Since then the SLGFF has grown into a Capitol Hill tradition. This year, more than 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival’s 20th anniversary.

The reels get rolling Thursday with a showing of Freeheld at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

“It’s something to get motivated, this bittersweet story about a woman dying and a fight for basic civil rights,” says Three Dollar Bill Cinema executive director Jason Plourde. “It’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come as a community and a movement.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill critics say Convention Center design a rush job

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 7.18.09 PM

(Images: LMN Architects)

As the public review process rolls forward for the expanded Washington State Convention Center, a Capitol Hill community group is continuing to raise concerns that the project’s hurried pace is leaving out meaningful input from neighborhoods on a range of required public benefits.

For months, the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council has been pushing to insert Capitol Hill priorities into the public project with a $1.4 billion budget — a figure that exceeds the cost to build CenturyLink and Safeco Field combined.

“It’s almost as if there was another convention center being built in Seattle and they want to get theirs finished before it,” PPUNC chair John Feit told CHS.

Affordable housing, a transit hub, and creating open public space were just a few of ideas generated during an public open house in September. Some of the disconnect between community members and the Pine Street Group, which is managing the project for WSCC, may stem from differing views of how surrounding residents will interact with the project.

According to Pine Street principal Matt Griffin, the convention center is ultimately less about creating a destination for neighbors and more about patching over I-5. “

One of the most important things we can do for Capitol Hill is increase that pedestrian link between Capitol Hill and downtown,” he said.

But it’s likely the project will be asked to do more. Because of its scale, the project is also being managed by a Planned Community Development process in which this kind of once in a generation project may be planned in a unified process if public benefits including low-income housing, historic preservation, or public space are included. It’s rare for Seattle to see projects on this scale — the planned convention center expansion and a set of surrounding developments designed to accompany the project represent one of the few times the process has ever been undertaken.

An October 1st memo from DPD director Diane Sugimura documents five priorities for the WSCC is to consider as it utilizes the PCD process:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.37.37 PM Continue reading

First Hill Streetcar: 300 miles or so to go

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 4.20.13 PMNow that we’ve gotten to the bottom of what, exactly, is holding up the First Hill Streetcar, the information from SDOT is starting to flow faster than a 7 MPH trolley on Broadway.

The department’s promotional team for the streetcar system has posted two hope-filled updates after months with almost no information about the long-delayed line.

“The streetcar manufacturer finished the initial ‘qualification testing’ for all six First Hill streetcars earlier this month, after taking quite a bit longer than expected,” a recent update reads. Continue reading

CHS Pics | New coat of light and love added to Central District’s MLK, Jr. mural

(Image: Fat's)

(Image: Fat’s via Facebook)

Fat’s Chicken and Waffles is closed on Mondays but another part of its overhaul of the old Catfish Corner is always available.

In September when we told you about the new joint’s debut at MLK and Cherry, CHS also told you about a project bringing back the muralist behind the building’s classic artwork to give the painting a touch-up.

James Crespinel, the artist who created the Martin Luther King, Jr. mural on the building’s eastern wall outside the restaurant, has wrapped up his work cleaning up the giant painting and its inspirational quotation:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

For more on MLK, Jr.’s words, check out this article from the Atlantic about how the civil rights leader’s very real words from his book Strength to Love became intermingled with a quotation he never said.

You can check out images of Crespinel’s MLK, Jr. mural in progress and other works here.


As Seattle seeks new answers on homelessness, PSKS marks 20 years helping ‘kids from the streets’

(Images: PSKS)

Each January, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness conducts The One Night Count, a community-organized census of King County’s homeless population. This year, the count came to 10,047. Of that total, 824 were homeless or unstably housed youth, ages 12 to 25.

Resources, housing and support are outnumbered by the homeless or unstably housed and can be especially difficult to access. In 1995, the Becca Bill, a Washington truancy law the essentially criminalized youth homelessness and pipelined kids into the criminal justice and prison system, exacerbated the problem of youth access. 20 years ago, Elaine Simons responded to the Becca Bill and other injustices she saw against homeless by founding Peace on the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS).

“It started literally in a little room,” says current PSKS executive director Susan Fox. “We were founded by youth who were advocating against policies that were detrimental to youth who might be homeless.”

Now, PSKS finds itself on the forefront of Seattle’s efforts to address homelessness and inequity as the topic becomes a political causenew shelters are proposed, and money is finally being put forward to help create real solutions. Continue reading

Metro wants Hill feedback on bus route restructure before 2016 light rail start

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.45.42 AMcapitol-hill-frequency2Tuesday night brings a public hearing on Metro’s proposed “Link Connections” changes to optimize bus routes as light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington begins in early 2016.

For reasons only the King County Council know, the hearing is being held in one of the city’s least public transportation-friendly corners:

Attend the public hearing
Tuesday, Oct. 6
6:30 p.m. Open house
7:00 p.m. Public testimony
Mountaineers Club
7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle
Served by Metro routes 30, 74, and 75
Use Metro’s Trip Planner to plan your travel

We advise making the smartest transit plan of all — stay home and submit a well-crafted comment online.

CHS wrote about the early formation of the restructure here in the spring. Here is how Metro describes the summary of changes proposed for Capitol Hill and the Central District: Continue reading

Sawant and Banks throw barbs — and take a few hits — in District 3 debate




The first and only scheduled City Council District 3 debate was more barbed and more focused on neighborhood issues than past forums, but candidates also stuck to well-honed talking points in what is now the home stretch of the race.

City Council member Kshama Sawant and Seattle Urban League CEO Pamela Banks squared off in the hour-long debate at Seattle University Sunday night. Erica C. Barnett of The C is for Crank moderated along with three community panelists. The debate was broadcast live by the Seattle Channel — a recording of the forum is expected to be available for view later this week.

Banks also launched a new line of criticism against Sawant Sunday night, going after her Council attendance record. According to Banks, Sawant has a track record of missing committee meetings including the energy committee, which she chairs.

“You can’t represent the people without doing the work in government,” Banks said.

As in previous forums, Sawant quickly established herself as the more energetic and polished speaker — though it didn’t help that Banks was literally losing her voice as the debate progressed. Banks did prove she could draw a crowd capable of rivaling Sawant’s reliable sea of red. Wearing purple “PB” shirts, the Banks supporters in the crowd matched the Sawant side cheer for cheer.

18 things CHS heard at the D3 debate:

  1. “I believe in unity,” said Sawant, adding that she rejected Seattle divided by “stunning” financial inequity.
  2. Banks: “My opponent only listens to people who think she is great.”
  3. Career Bridge, a jobs program launched by the Urban League under Banks, was brought up multiple times in the evening. Sawant said she wanted to bolster the program; Banks said she tried to meet with Sawant about it last year, but could never get an appointment.
  4. Before hiring more police officers, Sawant called for an audit of the Seattle Police Department to see how resources are being deployed. Continue reading

One person reported shot in foot after Harvard gunfire — Also, overnight shots in the Central District

A Seattle Police officer heard multiple, rapid fire gunshots ring out across Pike/Pine early Sunday morning and Seattle Fire treated a victim reported to have been shot in the foot in a second night of gunfire in the area. Meanwhile, police found shell casings and a large crowd following a second reported “assault with weapons” incident in the Central District — but, fortunately, no victim.

In the Pike/Pine incident, police converged on an area near Harvard and Union around 2:45 AM as Seattle Fire was called to treat a male with a reported gunshot wound to the foot outside the west entrance of the nearby QFC. The injury was apparently not serious but we have not yet confirmed details with Seattle Fire or SPD. Witnesses reported at least two vehicles that may have been involved were seen leaving the area of the shooting.

Later Sunday morning, a fight near 23rd and Jackson ended with gunfire in a disturbance just before 4:45 AM. According to East Precinct radio, police arrived to find around 20 people remaining in the area but no victim.

There were no immediate arrests in either incident.

According to SPD data, gun incidents including shots fired with and without victims are up 36% in the East Precinct vs. 2014.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a report on the Pike/Pine incident:

Officers are investigating after a man walking in Capitol Hill was shot in the foot early Sunday morning.

Police Sgt. Michael Renner was standing at the corner of Broadway and Pike St. Sunday morning at 2:45 when he heard gun shots to the west. Additional officers flooded the area and found a man who had been shot in the foot while walking in the 1400 block of Harvard Ave. Officers were also approached by the owner of a car who said that as he sat in the driver’s seat bullets hit his car and lodged in the seat.

Medics took the man who was shot to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Officers scoured the block and found several 40 caliber and 9mm shells which were all taken in as evidence. Despite an extensive area check, they did not find the suspects.

If you have any information in this case please call the Homicide/Assault tip line at (206)233-5000.

UPDATE 10/5/2015 9:27 AM: Seattle Central officials contacted East Precinct Monday morning to report a possible bullet hole found on the Pike side of the school’s Harvard Ave building.

10th Ave E’s J.W. Bullock Residence to be considered as landmark

A 103-year-old 10th Ave E home will join the list of Capitol Hill properties being considered for Seattle landmarks protections laster this month. Meanwhile, the 111-year-old Gaslight Inn will move to the next step in its quest for landmark status this week.

The 1220 10th Ave E J.W. Bullock Residence will be considered by the board later this month. You can send your comment on the nomination to the landmarks board via email or plan to attend the hearing on the house:

Landmarks Preservation Board to consider nomination for the Bullock Residence in Capitol Hill for landmark status
September 10, 2015 (Seattle, WA) – Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the Bullock Residence (1220 10th Avenue E) on Wednesday, October 21 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor (Room 4060).

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by October 20 at 3:00 p.m.:
Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649 (mailing address)

The property has been owned for more than 20 years by an executive at the Gates Foundation and a writer. There are no current permits for construction and it does not appear the property is currently for sale.

The J. W. Bullock residence “appears to have been one of the earliest residences to be constructed in the Phinney’s Addition along Tenth Avenue N. to the north of Highland Drive,” the nomination proposal for the property reads. “Prior residential development on Block G appears to have been limited due to the lack of street improvements and the issues related to passage through the Leary-Ferry Estate.” Continue reading

Reminder: District 3 debate Sunday night

Kshama-Sawant-and-Pamela-Banks-600x300CHS previewed the political tussle here. Sunday night, City Council member — and de facto incumbent — Kshama Sawant and challenger Pamela Banks will square off in what is currently shaping up to be the final dedicated District 3 debate before Election Day. You need to register here to attend. Last we checked, tickets were still available.

Town Hall, Seattle Channel, and Seattle University present Seattle City Council Debate: District 3 Kshama Sawant and Pamela Banks
7:30PM, Sunday, October 4, 2015 Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University Free Doors open at 6:30 pm. Because this event is televised live, audience members are asked to take their seats by 7:25 pm for the 7:30 pm program. This event is free, but registration is required. No late seating.

You can also watch via the Seattle Channel’s live broadcast.

There is no theme or specific topics listed for the event and moderators will be asking questions tweeted to #seacouncil.