Black Lives Matter protest mixes with tree lighting celebration in downtown Seattle

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Thousands of revelers including Black Lives Matter protesters and celebrants enjoying the lighting of downtown Christmas tree filled the area around Westlake Friday in what appears to be a new Seattle Black Friday tradition.

In 2014, at the height of protests about the Michael Brown case and Ferguson, Missouri, a large group of demonstrators disrupted the lighting ceremony, marched through Westlake Mall, and eventually clashed with police who fought to push the group to disperse up Capitol Hill.

IMG_3089IMG_3852In 2015, the protest was a much more controlled affair with Seattle Police responding with large contingents of officers to move the demonstrators around downtown streets and to the edges of the tree lighting ceremony’s festivities. The groups were able to enter the downtown Macy’s and a Forever 21 store but were stopped by police and mall security from entering Westlake or Pacific Place in significant numbers.

2015 also brought a grand finale of sorts for the protest as a fleet of balloons carrying protest messages accompanied the tree ceremony’s fireworks.

Protest crowd estimates varied from around 200 to 400 though the afternoon and evening demonstrations. Police said there were four arrests:

Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators took to the streets and protested peacefully.

However, officers did respond to isolated skirmishes outside of Westlake Center and Pacific Place, resulting in minor property damage and the arrest of four people. In one case, a bicycle officer dislocated his shoulder when people in the crowd interfered with an arrest outside of Pacific Place. The officer was transported to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.


Where to get your Capitol Hill Christmas tree: 26 years at the Dunshee House


IMG_1567 IMG_1573The Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center is ready to leave 17th Ave behind and make a move into new offices on 15th Ave E. But after 26 years, one Capitol Hill tradition centered around the Dunshee House is around for at least one more holiday season.

Friday, SASG’s annual tree lot opened for its 26th season. You can buy trees, wreaths, and garlands that benefit the nonprofit dedicated to building communities around HIV issues and other recovery assistance like addiction.

The tree lot is located at 303 17th Ave E and open from 9 AM to 9 PM daily through December 23rd. You can learn more here.

A new use for Capitol Hill parks: preschools

Outdoor preschool? In muddy public parks across rainy Seattle? It seems like that’s going to be a preschool option for local parents in 2016. Tiny Trees, a budding local start-up outdoor preschool, received a letter this fall from the Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre confirming that the department would permit the nonprofit to run six outdoor preschool programs in city parks as a pilot project by September 2016.

Tiny Trees CEO Andrew Jay was, of course, thrilled at the news. After winning a $15,000 grant in 2014 through the Social Venture Partner’s Fast Pitch Competition for Best Non-Profit Start-Up and pitching the concept to superintendent Aguirre back in September, the Scandinavian model of outdoor preschool could soon come to city parks across Seattle. There is already one outdoor preschool operating out of the University of Washington Arboretum called Fiddleheads, which Jay says is one “inspiration” for Tiny Trees.

The touted upsides of outdoor preschool range from its cost savings — not having to pay for a facility saves a chunk of change — allowing for more investment in preschool teachers and discounts for middle and low income families, in addition to benefits of holding play and nature-based classes in stimulating outdoor green space. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Electric cars to Capitol Hill, 1901 — waiting just a little longer for the FH Streetcar

Looking south on 15th Ave East from Mercer Street. Old photo from Washington State Archives, Metro collection, LS0018.

Looking south on 15th Ave East from Mercer Street. Old photo from Washington State Archives, Metro collection, LS0018. I think it’s 1913.

Last month I threw down the gauntlet: a new chapter in the history of neighborhood streetcar service each month until the First Hill streetcar opens. This is month number two. Will we make it to three?

This month, we’re looking at a legit Capitol Hill streetcar: the destination placard actually says Capitol Hill on it. This line to James Moore’s new neighborhood opened on November 17, 1901. There was service on Broadway a decade earlier (read the Re:Take about it here), but Capitol Hill didn’t exist yet (read the Re:Take about it here) and it was one of many independently operated routes in the city. In 1899 and 1900 Seattle Electric Company took control of almost every line, and the Capitol Hill line became one of their first newly constructed streetcars.

Moore described service in a big advertisement before opening day, “The new line opens tomorrow morning for the special accommodation of the best residence district in Seattle”. Initially it started at the bottom of Second Avenue and traveled up to Pike Street, then on Pike to Fifteenth, and Fifteenth to Volunteer Park (then City Park). Cars ran every 12 minutes each way, only taking a break from just after midnight to 6 a.m. Later the cars were switched to Pine Street, the same route that Metro’s #10 trolley bus takes today. Continue reading

Africatown celebrates first ever Central District Winter Arts and Soul Fest

1 (4)As plans move forward for creating a new Central Area Arts District to celebrate the area as a hub for black art, business, and community, one of the groups looking to help preserve and grow the area’s economic and cultural assets will hold the first edition of what it hopes will become an annual event.

The first Africatown Central District Winter Arts and Soul Fest is underway:

Friday, Nov. 27th

  • Black Friday Concert & Marketplace featuring Owuor Arunga & Friends. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S. Market Place opens at 12 noon. Doors for concert open at 6:30pm.

Saturday, Nov. 28th

  • Africatown Small Business Saturday Marketplace at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S.

  • Opening of Black Dot Cultural Innovation Space @ Midtown Center, 1160 23rd Ave

  • 4th Annual Dancehall Reunion Bash @ Eritrean Hall, 1954 S. Massachusetts St.

Continue reading

Shop local, shop the Hill

1450973_759900357357854_1816493941_nWe’re once again keeping track of local gift ideas and deals from Capitol Hill area merchants at

You can let us know about your favorite shops here via Facebook and we’ll try add regular updates to share through the holidays.

If you’re looking to also spread joy to the needy and less fortunate, here are 2015 donation drives, feed the hungry, and volunteer opportunities around Capitol Hill.

Continue reading

CHS Pics | In this time of sharing — and getting some work done — check out the Capitol Hill Tool Library


CapitolHillToolLibrary_0230Happy holiday. CHS is going to quiet down for a bit over Thanksgiving but we’re still around. Please feel free to ping us via email, @jseattle, or call/txt (206) 399-5959 if something comes up. Or if you just want to have a nice (brief :)) chat. We’re pretty much always working at least a little bit. Which means we’re pretty much also always on holiday — at least a little bit.

Speaking of bits, manual labor, and breaking news — fix it! — CHS stopped by the neighborhood’s very own Capitol Hill Tool Library last weekend to check out a work party to put the array of donated saws, hammers, wrenches, and more in order and prepare the new lending facility in the Summit Building at 420 E Pike.

The Sustainable Capitol Hill project is volunteer and donation driven:

Don’t know what a tool library is? Imagine borrowing a food dehydrator, a ladder, a fishing rod, much like you would borrow a book from SPL. Imagine learning how to fix your broken toaster, building a worm bin, preserving your summer bounty. Enjoy a local community of knowledgeable fixers, tool lending, and workshops at the new Capitol Hill Tool Library.

To join, you can donate equipment or your time or both. You can view a roster of available implements of construction here. Contact the group for the logistics of checkout. Ideas for what to build with all this DIY goodness? How about some “tiny houses?” Here are some more organizations and groups you can lend a hand to this winter.



The 50 oldest businesses in District 3

Screen-Shot-2015-10-08-at-10.19.56-PM (2)While the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and Central Seattle continue to change and grow, not everything is glossy and new. CHS found that 45% of area business permits within District 3 have been active for 10 years or more. The oldest? Well, you’ll have to scroll to the end of our list.

Below, we’ve called out the 50 oldest active business permits in the neighborhoods of District 3 from Capitol Hill to the Central District.

The list covers businesses and organizations licensed within the area’s ZIP codes but it’s not comprehensive. There are many businesses that have been open for decades but may be registered somewhere else, so they are not included in our list. Others represent businesses that have closed up shop, but still maintain a license.

In general, the businesses and organizations with the most staying power seem to be nonprofits and offices of professional services like architects and lawyers. And food and drink entrepreneurs take note: Only one restaurant — the Deluxe Bar and Grill at 87 — cracks the top 100… not even close to our top 50, below.

District 3’s 50 Oldest Businesses

  1. Genesis House – An inpatient drug rehab center in the Laschi/Madrona area which opened in 1971. It closed in 2014.

    Country Doctor

    Country Doctor

  2. County Doctor Community Health Clinic – Serving the community since 1971, the Country Doctor on 19th Avenue East is planning an expansion, possibly next year, in order to add dental health to the list of services they provide.
  3. Group Health Cooperative – the larger group health organization was founded in 1945, but in 1971, they planted a flag on Capitol Hill.
  4. Roger Newell – the architect whose office is on 19th Avenue East has had his business license in this area since 1971.
  5. Robert E. Frey – One of the first Certified Financial Planners in the state, according to a 1975 Seattle Times article on Frey’s website.
  6. Donald Glover – not that Donald Glover. This Donald Glover was the owner behind Horizon Books, the used bookstore which used to be on 15th, in the spot currently occupied by Ada’s. Now, it operates an online business on 10th Ave. Continue reading

First Hill Streetcar Safety Day planned to help keep tracks safe as SDOT works on line’s parking problem

First Hill Streetcar - Trainset Test Run

Streetcar-11-15As Seattle Department of Transportation officials are preparing the First Hill Streetcar for the start of service, they are also ramping up the process of educating people who are living, going to school, and working around the 2.5-mile Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square route about how the system works — and, importantly, how to be safe around the tracks and trolleys. They are also working to address a major hindrance to efficient service — an ongoing spate of poorly parked cars and trucks that have repeatedly caused the trains to come to a halt during testing in recent weeks.

Next week, SDOT will host a “First Hill Streetcar Safety Day” to help make sure the line gets off to the safest start possible as the streets along the line mix with streetcar, motor vehicle, and pedestrian traffic:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will host a “First Hill Streetcar Safety Day” on Thursday, December 3 from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. at three station locations.

The Safety Day will feature Metro streetcar operators onboard stationary streetcars at the Broadway & Denny, 14th & Washington, and Occidental & Jackson stations. The public is invited to come aboard to check out the new streetcars, ask questions about how they work and learn streetcar safety tips. Continue reading