Proposed Seattle Renters’ Commission will tackle tenant rights, affordability

Capitol Hill’s calls for a Seattle Renters’ Commission will soon be answered creating what is likely the first such official body in the nation.

CHS has learned legislation to create a 15-member commission to represent tenants rights and weigh in on issues of development and affordability could be introduced as early as Monday.

“The goal is to attract folks across the whole spectrum,” the Capitol Hill Community Council’s Zachary DeWolf said. “Families, seniors, geographic diversity, vouchers, newer units, older units. Everyone.”

The offices of Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold have been working to finalize the proposal that comes as Seattle residents continue to face one of the most expensive rental markets… in the world.

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Rally Saturday to fight for rights of Seattle transgender students

Every week, it seems, brings a new target as the Trump administration seemingly picks its way down the list of some of the biggest progressive gains and efforts of the past decade. Wednesday brought the latest affront as news spread of a new White House memo rolling back Obama administration protections for transgender students. In Seattle, of course, people are already fighting back.

“I can’t believe they’re going after the kids,” the Gender Justice League’s Danni Askini told CHS Wednesday afternoon.

The White House letter issued Wednesday tells officials at the nation’s public schools to disregard the previous administration’s directives that established that prohibiting transgender students “from using facilities that align with their gender identity” violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Continue reading

Dino’s Tomato Pie baking plan for new music venue below E Olive Way

Dino’s Tomato Pie is kind of like a Denny at E Olive Way time machine. Its next stop is a small start in reversing the neighborhood’s trend of restaurant concepts and developments pushing out the last vestiges of the Capitol Hill music scene.

“One, I like the idea of anti-gentrification, where small music venues are closing, we can actually add something,” Brandon Pettit tells CHS about a project he hopes will eventually create a new music and events venue at Dino’s.

Two, Pettit has a Dino’s-sized underground level to work with below the bustling pizza joint. Continue reading

With officials touting ‘record transit’ numbers, Capitol Hill riders trading bus for light rail

Opposite Day On the Escalator, Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station

More Capitol Hill commuters are traveling by public transportation — and they’re ditching buses in favor of light rail and the First Hill Streetcar in droves. The new numbers come from the Seattle Transit Blog’s analysis of the first release of systemwide ridership data following the opening of Capitol Hill Station, UW Station, and the U-Link restructure that optimized Metro’s lines around the opening of light rail service between downtown and the University of Washington via Broadway.

While Capitol Hill-area riders are less likely to be hopping on a bus, the data comparing Fall 2015 with Fall 2016 activity show Metro’s restructure apparently paid off by putting the county system to work serving areas away from the light rail circuit and feeding riders to the stations. “Despite an aggressive ULink restructure, Metro ridership stayed flat, declining by just 0.2%,” the STB wonks write. Continue reading

Design review: Country Doctor’s 19th Ave E expansion

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-5-15-25-pmA crucial Capitol Hill project for one of the city’s only providers of nonprofit, low-income health care will take what should be its final step in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

The Country Doctor Community Clinic’s plan will create a new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

The new facility will provide medical services including a new dental clinic, and expanded services for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Maternity, HIV and Chronic Pain. The project will also provide expanded administrative office and meeting space for the entire Country Doctor Community Health Centers network. The current 2,350 square feet of medical services and administrative offices provided on-site will be expanded to 9,000 square feet on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Meanwhile, the project’s top two floors will house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, $1 million in federal grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services.

Design review: 510 19th Ave E

Executive director Linda McVeigh told CHS last fall the construction will also add more private rooms, sorely lacking in the current space. “A lot of services we provide are best provided in a one on one environment,” she said. Continue reading

2016 Orlando nightclub attack, FDA rules spur ‘Bad Blood’ talk at Gay City

On June 12, 2016, a gunman attacked Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53. The LGBTQ community rallied to donate blood to the survivors, but blood centers turned away gay and bisexual men because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans some of them from donating. The FDA first enacted a lifetime ban in 1985 to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The restrictions were recently changed so that men who haven’t had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months can donate blood.

The nightclub attack and FDA’s rules on blood donations are at the center of a public conversation at Capitol Hill’s Gay City on Thursday.

Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood

Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest, will participate in a panel discussion about blood donation by gay and bisexual men called “Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood Donation.” Continue reading

Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.” Continue reading

‘SAVE OUR POST OFFICE’ — 15th Ave E meeting to help Postal Plus find a new home

Zhang (Image: CHS)

Zhang (Image: CHS)

As what could be the biggest change for the street in decades plays out, the community around 15th Ave E’s shops and restaurants is coming together to help make a smaller change in the neighborhood work out for a longtime neighborhood business.

In October, CHS reported that mailing and package services stop Postal Plus was faced with doubling rent and needed to find a new home. Sunday, a neighborhood meeting organized by resident Ellen Taft is being held at Victrola to help postmaster Ed Zhang find a new home:

SAVE OUR POST OFFICE

Taft says Sen. Patty Murray Rep. Pramila Jayapal aide Raman Khanna will be on hand for the meeting.

The business situation around Postal Plus is more complicated than most small ventures on the street. Continue reading

Blotter | State Patrol chases down suspected truck thief after Lakeview/Belmont crashes

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Belmont auto theft arrest: Police and the Washington State Patrol were busy Tuesday morning after an I-5 pursuit of a reported stolen vehicle turned into a series of crashes involving at least three different vehicles before ending just up the Hill from Lakeview and Belmont Ave E. There was one arrest. The incident began playing out at the base of Capitol Hill around 9:20 AM after WSP stopped a stolen pick-up truck and the driver fled the scene on foot. You can see the incident play out in this video posted to Reddit by a resident in the area. Seattle Police rushed to the scene and the suspect was taken into custody within minutes. Seattle Fire was called out to treat one occupant of vehicles involved in a collision with the stolen truck for what were described as minor injuries.

  • Reported hit and run: Seattle Fire and SPD were on the scene Monday night after a reported hit and run of a pedestrian at Bellevue and Pine but the circumstances of the incident remain murky. Emergency personnel arrived to find a woman in her 60s down in the street just north of the intersection on Bellevue with an injured arm. The victim said she had been hit by a driver who had left the scene. Police could find no witnesses to the collision and did not have a description of the vehicle to work with. The woman was transported to Harborview for treatment of her injuries. SPD says its traffic collision team did not investigate the incident.
  • UPDATE — Broadway mattress arson: Here’s a bonus blotter item for your Tuesday afternoon. Seattle Police were looking for a suspect seen running from the scene after a mattress was set on fire in front of the Broadway Performance Hall. Seattle Fire responded to the incident just after 2:30 PM after a 911 caller witnessed a male suspect spray paint something on the mattress, light it on fire, and take off running on Broadway. Police were looking for a suspect described as a white male, around 6-feet tall, wearing a black knit hat, grey jacket, and black pants. Seattle Central was able to provide surveillance video from the campus to police, according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

Big property deal set to reshape Capitol Hill’s somewhat sleepy 15th Ave E

img_1796In a sellers’ market on Capitol Hill, another big real estate deal appears primed to remake part of the neighborhood. CHS has learned that property on a key block in the heart of 15th Ave E’s strip of shops and restaurants recently hit the market and already has a prospective buyer with plans for a multi-story, mixed-use building stretching from the site where the 15th Ave E QFC stands today to cornershop ShopRite.

“If God means for us to stay, I am staying,” ShopRite owner Mohammad Abid tells CHS about the deal and his long-term lease in the building the shop has called home for more then 20 years.

Fortunately, the coming changes are still a ways off. Continue reading