Seattle effort to return historic Benson Trolleys to service has Capitol Hill connection

(Image: Friends of the Benson Trolleys)

With less than a week to go, backers of a community effort to raise funds to plan restoring Seattle’s historic Benson Trolleys for use on the city’s modern streetcar system are about halfway to their $28,000 goal. Though you’re unlikely to see Seattle’s two remaining 100-year-old trolleys on Capitol Hill’s tracks, the project has its roots in the neighborhood’s history.

George and Evelyn Benson owned and operated Capitol Hill’s Mission Pharmacy at 19th and Aloha for 40 years,” Don Blakeney of Friends of the Benson Trolleys tells CHS. “Also, apparently they used to drive around the Hill delivering prescriptions to families in a van painted to look like a transit bus.” Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Spring is on the horizon, just check the Hill’s unassuming Indian Plums

The unassuming Indian Plum, blooming in Interlaken Park several springs ago (Image: Brendan McGarry)

Maybe it’s just me, but spring still feel miles away. I love winter, even in the Pacific Northwest, but in the end, I find myself anxious for spring just like everyone else. I’ve been noticing hints here and there. More birds are singing. I go to and from work in daylight now. Yet, nothing during these dreary grey months signals that sunnier days are on the horizon more than the first buds breaking on Indian Plum (Oemleria cercasiformis).

While other plants are still just thinking about breaking out of dormancy, our Indian Plums, or Osoberry, start making moves. First a bud begins to break and you can see a little bit of leaf unpeeling inside. Not long after, chains of greenish-white flowers unravel. Currently, Indian Plums are just beginning this process on the Hill, which is totally welcome when the rest of the understory in our local parks are still mostly a sea of bare sticks. Continue reading

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains nearly 36,000 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.

BREAKING NEWS! We also keep our eyes on the #capitolhillseattle Instagram tag — you should, too! Below are this week’s best Capitol Hill shots. Thanks for sharing!
Continue reading

Make a ‘special’ visit to Lao Bar, now open in the Broadway Alley

You will have different experiences depending on whether you come in to visit Lao Bar — or decide to order from the comfort of your couch. We recommend taking the real world approach and stopping by the Broadway Alley for a visit.

The new Laotian restaurant and bar debuts Friday night and owner Carrie Bowen tells CHS you are welcome to order the standards for takeout for delivery but the house specialties on the daily fresh sheet are for enjoyment at Lao Bar only.

“We only serve the specials here,” Bowen said Friday.  Continue reading

East Precinct introduces new leader at community crime meeting

Capt. Bryan Grenon (Image: Michelle MacKinnon/CHS)

With a recent run of 10 new leaders in 15 years, a change at the top of the Seattle Police Department’s precinct covering Capitol Hill and the Central District shouldn’t come as a major surprise. The 11th in 18 years is now taking over.

Capt. Bryan Grenon, a veteran officer and colonel in the Washington Army National Guard from Tacoma, joined the Seattle Police Department in 1992 and will now command the officers of the East Precinct.

“I just wanted to be a police officer,” he told CHS Thursday night after his introduction in the new role at a community crime meeting. He had one more stop to make before heading home after the meeting: the East Precinct where he told third-watch officers that he’s the commander now.

At the end of his first full day as Precinct Captain, Grenon arrived ten minutes early for the February meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council. For a half hour, he and East Precinct Operations Lieutenant Paul Leung responded to concerns about school shootings and talk safety measures. “If we got a threat of a school shooting, we’re going to err on the side of caution and we’re going to make that arrest if we have probable cause,” Grenon said in one reply to the concerns voiced by community members Thursday night. Continue reading

17 things CHS heard at the Seattle Housing Gap meeting

(Image: CHS)

The Progressive Revenue Task Force charged with finding new source of funding to help address Seattle’s homelessness crisis is weeks away from releasing its recommendations and an important bottom line element: how much money can the task force dig up? Will it be enough? Earlier this week, Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda gathered housing and homelessness experts and the Housing For All Coalition to move ahead on next steps to putting the money to work creating affordable housing in Seattle as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“It’s worth reminding ourselves that this is not a crisis because we don’t know what do do, it’s a manmade crisis of our own because we never invested the resources from the very start,” Alison Eisinger, executive director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, said Tuesday night during the “Seattle Housing Gap” panel at City Hall.

Headed by City Council member Lorena González, the revenue task force is on a legislated deadline: if it doesn’t deliver recommendations in March, the council will begin the process of imposing an employee head tax opposed by many of Seattle’s business communities.

Tuesday’s discussion was less about alternative sources of funding and more about the environment we’ve created for developing housing in Seattle. Here are some of the things CHS saw and heard during the panel:

  • How about some scary math to start? To build the apartment units required, the city and county would need an estimated $5.1 billion to permanently shelter the more than 30,000 individuals in the region in need, many of whom have extra needs in addiction recovery and mental health in addition to homelessness.
  • 6,300 homeless unsheltered individuals were counted within Seattle City limits during a one-night count last year.
  • Adding to her statements at a town hall last weekend that “we should not be selling city-owned land into the speculative real-estate market,” Rep. Nicole Macri talked about rezoning public land for development and progressive tax reform. Macri also has legislation in the House aimed at prohibiting income discrimination and protecting vulnerable groups who are not yet homeless.
  • “If you look at Seattle metro, more than 46.8% of renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent,” Macri said.
  • Macri’s House Bill 2578 would allow counties to bond against state sales tax revenue to finance their own infrastructure.
  • Katie Wilson of the Housing for all Coalition talked demographics: “Population is growing in high and low-income brackets, while affordable housing for those with incomes in the middle are being hollowed out — sorry this is so depressing,” Wilson said only ten minutes into the meeting. Continue reading

Police respond to Belmont Ave building for man reported stabbed in early morning robbery

Seattle Fire and Seattle Police found a man stabbed in the back inside a Capitol Hill apartment building but not much information about what happened in a reported robbery early Friday morning.

Emergency units rushed to the area just before 5 AM after a 911 caller reported that the victim had been stabbed in a robbery or attempted robbery. Their arrival was delayed by more than five minutes due to confusion over the caller’s location, according to emergency radio dispatches.

Police were able to track down the incident in the 1700 block of Belmont at the Granada Apartment building where the victim was found with what appeared to be one knife wound to the upper back.

Seattle Fire rushed the victim to Harborview. We do not have information on his condition. UPDATE: SFD tells us a man in his 40s was taken to the hospital in stable condition in the reported stabbing.

Police were attempting to piece together what happened in the incident with limited information from the victim or the caller.

Blotter | Gunpoint robbery on Broadway, Garfield High shooting threat arrest, 12th Ave DUI crash

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

  • Broadway armed robbery: A victim told police about a gunpoint robbery early Wednesday morning on Broadway. According to East Precinct radio reports, the victim reported being robbed on the street near E Harrison just before 3 AM by a female suspect wearing a heavy green jacket and carrying a dark handgun. The suspect, described as a 5’5″ black female wearing “cold weather clothing,” was reported to have been last seen on foot northbound on Broadway. The victim went to a nearby apartment building to call police. Officers and a K9 unit searched the area but there were no arrests.
  • Garfield High shooting threat: KING TV reports that a Garfield High student has been arrested for threatening a shooting at the school just days following the Parkland, Florida mass shooting. According to the police report on the incident, students at the school persisted in reporting the suspect’s behavior even after reporting it to a teacher who took no action. The juvenile suspect was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of harassment. Continue reading

No Barista Boyz — yet — but a bikini drive-thru Ladybug Espresso has, indeed, opened on Capitol Hill

With Seattle’s cold snap, it might seem like a tough week to get your start as a bikini barista on Broadway but the street’s 80-square-foot drive-thru shack is actually pretty cozy, CHS is told.

“With the heaters, it’s actually hot in there,” a representative for Ladybug Espresso tells CHS. The Puget Sound region chain of 30-something bikini espresso stands has quietly expanded to Capitol Hill, opening on Presidents Day at Broadway and Harrison.

The drive-thru stand offers a full selection of coffee drinks and, yes, a smiling barista in fancy underwear or a skimpy bathing suit to send you on your way. The pay is good, the rep said, telling CHS Ladybug baristas make more than minimum wage. The tips are better. Continue reading