Mayor set to announce $15 minimum wage plan — with or without consensus — UPDATE: No deal

Demonstrators surrounded City Hall Wednesday (Image: Working Washington)

Demonstrators surrounded City Hall Wednesday (Image: Working Washington)

UPDATE: There was a self-imposed deadline but no deal Thursday at Seattle’s City Hall. With no proposal of his own to offer, Mayor Ed Murray said at a Thursday press conference he still wanted to give his committee more time to hammer out a path to $15.

“A majority of the committee has agreed to a proposal but I don’t believe we have a good cross section of businesses and non-profits to make it viable,” he said. Continue reading

Travel back in Capitol Hill time with new Google Maps feature

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 1.42.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 1.43.58 PMIt was a simpler time on Capitol Hill back in 2007. During those gleeful pre-recession years CHS was still in its infancy and you could get $1 pull tabs at Benson’s Grocery (although history does tend to repeat itself). Relive it all and watch the neighborhood transform before your eyes with Google Maps new feature that allows you to walk  through seven years of street view images.

There are some real gems, including watching the transformation of Broadway from a low-rise, small business street to a mixed-use haven with a big hole where the Capitol Hill light rail station will go. Other fun finds:

Post your favorites finds in comments.



Out of Paradiso emerged Caffe Vita — and decades of Capitol Hill coffee culture

The 60 kilogram beast of a roaster inside E Pike's Caffe Vita (Images: CHS)

The 60 kilogram beast of a roaster inside E Pike’s Caffe Vita (Images: CHS)

There had been a plan for this week to be a celebration of twenty years of coffee culture in Seattle as Caffe Vita marked its 1995 birth with a Pike/Pine street party.

But the E Pike flagship coffee shop and roaster — even with the prospect of hundreds of caffeine slingers in Seattle for The Specialty Coffee Association of America Symposium – nixed the street party plans and instead opted only to give the old cafe a much needed spiffing up.

You’ll note new floors on both levels of the building and a general scrubbing of the hard-working cafe and bean factory.

Street party or no, Capitol Hill can still celebrate Vita and the pioneering efforts of founder Mike McConnell — though marking 20 years might not be enough. Instead, one of the key milestones in Capitol Hill cafe culture should be marked to 1991.

Cafe Paradiso, where Vita was born (Image courtesy The Daily Journal of Commerce)

Cafe Paradiso, where Vita was born (Image courtesy The Daily Journal of Commerce)

Continue reading

Seattle schools seeks landmark status for TT Minor ahead of World School move

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.13.16 PMIn an effort to secure TT Minor Elementary School as a key part of its plan to reshuffle programming around the central neighborhoods of the city, Seattle Public Schools has nominated the 1941-built building to be a historical landmark. The landmark proposal for the 18th and Union school, prepared and submitted by Seattle architecture firm The Johnson Partnership, is slated to go before the Landmark Preservation Board on May 7th.

According to the nominating document the original TT Minor, which is no longer standing, was the first public school in the Central District. When the school was rebuilt, SPS’s architects say the school became a model for future construction:

The design of the 1940 portion of the school reflects the adoption of Modern ideas of cleanliness and functionality. Before World War II, a few school designs were responding to the ideas of the modern movement, striving for clean rational functional spaces. These buildings set the stage for the boom in new modernist schools built after the war. Continue reading

On the List | African American Film Fest, Dining Out for Life, Silly Hilly, community crime meeting

The largest ever Langston Hughes African American Film Festival starts this weekend with programming for all ages and interests. More than 50 films, special events, panels, workshops and mini-fests fill out the nine-day festival.

tdbdff-bicycle“The festival kicks off with a fun-filled Family Film Weekend on April 26 and 27 including Fat Albert mini-fest. (Hey, hey, hey.)  The closing day screening and Seattle premier of Toussaint L’Ouverture ends the film festival on May 4. A special Ladies Night mini-fest features ten shorts on Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm and 9 pm. The LGBTQ-focused screening on Saturday, May 3 will feature the documentary The New Black.”

All screenings are at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased individually, plus an all access pass is also available. Ticketing links and a detailed schedule are located on the festival website.

Fogon is one of 5 Capitol Hill restaurants donating 50% to Lifelong during Dine Out for Life.

Dining Out for Life on Thursday at one (or more!) of the 54 Capitol Hill eateries participating in the annual fundraiser for Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

Thursday night, get updates on recent gun violence in the area and talk traffic safety at the April meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council.

Saturday, stop by a charity garage sale or climb a tree in Volunteer Park.

Saturday night brings Dare to Dance 4 — “a professional-quality showcase for original dances created and performed by dance enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels” — the Broadway Performance Hall.

Silly Hilly: Help the city decide upon the northern section of the Central Area Greenway on Saturday by walking/biking the four route options and giving feedback. Meet at Montlake Elementary at 2pm.

Something to add? Let us know on the CHS Calendar — more listings below:

Continue reading

Blotter | Capitol Hill man reports West Seattle cab ride ended with hate crime

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

  • Cab hate crime investigation: A Belmont Ave resident said a hateful cab driver tried to run him over in an altercation that followed his ride from downtown to West Seattle early last Saturday morning:Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 1.43.26 PMKOMO first reported the incident and has additional details from the SPD report. Police investigated the incident as a hate crime. It has been referred to the City Attorney’s office for possible charges, according to the SPD report.
  • Alleged drunk driver parks, gets busted: A 32-year-old man found passed out and surrounded by empty liquor containers inside a mini van parked near 16th Ave E and E Aloha was arrested for DUI Tuesday afternoon. The man has been charged but has not yet entered a plea according to municipal court records.

In wake of tough news for Metro, ‘Gentrification Stops Here’ activists target E Madison Microsoft shuttle

As early returns show King County voters rejecting a sales tax and car tab increase to fund Metro buses, the group targeting one of the area’s largest employers’ fleet of private shuttles struck again Wednesday morning blocking a Microsoft bus on E Madison just past 23rd.

The Stranger’s Ansel Herz  has details:

At 8:15 this morning, four masked activists blocked a Microsoft Connector shuttle bus at the intersection of 23rd and Madison for forty minutes, stretching “Gentrification Stops Here” banners across the front and back of the vehicle. The driver nudged forward, bumping one of them once, then killed the engine and got on the phone. After a few minutes, several passengers—apparently tired of waiting—got off the bus and hurried off. I caught up with one, a Microsoft employee who didn’t want to give his name, and asked him what he thought. “I see both sides of the issue,” he said, still walking away. “I don’t hate them.” When a police car approached, the activists walked off and the shuttle vehicle pulled away.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the protesters blocking the corporate shuttle fled as soon as police arrived just after 8:30 AM.

In February, protesters blocked a Microsoft bus on Bellevue near Pine with the “Gentrification Stops Here” banner. Another incident targeted Amazon workers the next day.

While the activists might have a difficult time making the case for true displacement and gentrification in neighborhoods like Pike/Pine and South Lake Union, the changes in the Central District might make for a better case — especially as new development in the area begins moving forward. Madison Valley? Not so much.

Walkers and bikers wanted for northern route testing of 23rd Ave greenway

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.53.39 PM

The greenway route, in blue, needs a northern route. (Image: SDOT)

When city planners selected the “hybrid” route for the Central Area Greenway in March, the project officially became the largest and most ambitious greenway the city has ever attempted. What wasn’t settled was how the northern section of the greenway would weave through Capitol Hill’s steep terrain north of Galer St, while avoiding 24th Ave, to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the Montlake Bridge.

In order to “crowdsource research” on the best route to Montlake, greenway supporters are inviting the public to meet at Montlake Elementary School this Saturday at 2 PM for Silly Hilly: a thigh-buring walk/ride through four of the potential route options.

“If you look at it, there isn’t a good way to go unless you go way out of your way,” said Silly Hilly organizer Merlin Rainwater. “What we would really love is to have greenways on both sides (of 23rd Ave).”

If the hilly part of the event doesn’t sound like your ideal Saturday afternoon, then show up for the silly:

Groups will set off on scavenger hunts to document and photograph ridiculously steep hills, sidewalks without curb cuts, scary intersections — as well as more moderately steep hills, good sidewalks, calmer streets, and other wonky things while donning festive hats, blowing kazoos, and exhibiting other silly behavior.

Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, greenways attempt to encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. The Central Area Greenway, initiated by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, will eventually connect the I-90 Trail to Interlaken Park. Work on the southern section of the greenway is scheduled to start this year. Continue reading

Group Health to sponsor 15 bike share stations across Capitol Hill, SLU

bixi-montreal (1)Puget Sound Bike Share riders will be cruising Capitol Hill by September — and Group Health has tossed in its support to sponsor some of the 50 stations planned for Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Downtown and the U-District:

Local non-profit health care provider Group Health has announced its support of bike share docking stations for Seattle’s upcoming bike share network, signing up to sponsor 15 stations in Capitol Hill and South Lake Union.  Group Health has thousands of employees who work at four facilities – Capitol Hill Campus, Downtown Seattle Medical Center, Group Health Research Institute, and their headquarter offices – between the Capitol Hill and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

Additional local companies, including Vulcan, REI, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Spectrum Development Solutions and others have also signed up to sponsor bike share stations.

The new system will begin with 500 bikes. The program’s primary bike sponsor has not yet been announced.

The PSBS describes its bike stations as “free-standing and battery powered” with solar backup, sited in the public right-of-way, parks, plazas and on private property. The city must approve placements. Station sponsors will receive “naming rights to the station(s) of their choice,” according to the statement released by the bike share on the new sponsorship.

Each station will have docks for 12 to 20 bikes and will feature a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multiday passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay around $80 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly from their docks. In order for PSBS to operate in compliance with Washington State helmet laws, each station will also have a “helmet dispensing” device, and a helmet return bin. Helmets will be available to rent for about $2, will be sanitized after each use, and cycled out after a certain number of uses. Station locations are still being worked out. You can add your ideas and suggestions here.

Maybe Capitol Hill’s affordable housing won’t be built on Capitol Hill

The Decibel is part of a trio of affordable apartments planned along 12th Ave south of Capitol Hill

The Decibel is part of a trio of affordable apartments planned along 12th Ave south of Capitol Hill

It is possible the solution to affordable apartments for the people of Capitol Hill won’t actually be *on* Capitol Hill. The Decibel, the second in a triumvirate of affordable apartment projects from Seattle’s Spectrum Development Solutions on the edge of the city’s Yesler Terrace urban village project, is scheduled to take its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board on Wednesday night. It is joined on the docket by a four-story mixed-use project planned for a Central District corner home to a community hub – The Fatima Cafe. More on both projects, below. Continue reading

First count shows rocky road for Proposition 1 vote on Metro, transportation funding — UPDATE

Looks like “Plan B” has an uphill battle ahead. Proposition 1 which would authorize a 0.1% increase in sales tax plus an annual $60 car tab fee replacing a fee that expires this summer to help fund Metro and roads in King County is off to a rocky start in the first count of ballots in the April election released Tuesday night.

UPDATE 4/23/14 4:45 PM: With another 40,000 or so votes tallied, still looking like bad news –Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.49.33 PM

CHS wrote here about the potential cutbacks faced by Metro — including the lopping off of several Capitol Hill-area routes — if the proposition should be rejected by county voters.

Early counts in the by-mail elections have typically left more progressive issues and candidates underrepresented for a variety of reasons including the busy lifestyles of younger voters. Seattle’s bus riders had better hope that trend plays out strongly on this one.

The Seattle Transit Blog reports that Yes on Prop 1 sources inside the campaign had said they would be comfortable with a 55-45 no-yes split on Election Night given the way they expect subsequent tallies to play out.

UPDATE: A group calling itself Friends of Transit has announced it will begin work to get an initiative on the November ballot that could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, “enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.”

The proposed initiative would increase the city’s property tax by $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value between 2015 and 2021. The measure is estimated to generate $25 million a year in revenue, enough to fund as much as 250,000 hours of bus service. This funding would help stave off cuts to routes operating completely within Seattle, and may help reduce cuts to routes operating between Seattle and other cities. The property tax increase requires a simple majority vote for approval.

Revenues would be collected by the City of Seattle and used to purchase service from King County Metro. Seattle currently buys approximately 45,000 hours of bus service from Metro using revenues generated by the Bridging the Gap property tax levy, approved by voters in 2006.

2014′s fall vote could be a big one for some of the more important civic issues in Seattle. Organizers pushing for a $15 minimum wage in the city are preparing for a charter amendment vote on the issue if City Hall fails to make progress on income inequality this spring.

Below, you’ll find the latest Metro plans for route cutbacks and eliminations. Continue reading

Tracking Capitol Hill’s cultural environment — 28 spaces, 2,982 seats and counting

Mapping the inventory shows Seattle's cultural hot spots

Mapping the inventory shows Seattle’s cultural hot spots

Here’s an environmental report that might not be as significant on a global scale as melting polar ice caps but, hey, what good is having a planet if it’s not filled with art and interesting people. As part of its effort to create spaces and foster the sustainability and growth of local arts organizations, the City of Seattle is creating an inventory a of its neighborhoods’ art spaces — including 28 on Capitol Hill. Continue reading