Urban League CEO enters Council District 3 race against Sawant

Pamela Banks (Image: Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle)

Pamela Banks (Image: Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle)

The race to represent the Central Area on City Council got a new candidate on Thursday. Non-profit director and Central District resident Pamela Banks announced she would challenge assumed front-runner council member Kshama Sawant for the newly created Council District 3 seat.

Banks is CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle where she said in a statement she’s exhibited an inclusive approach to organizing that marks a “clear distinction” from Sawant.

“I’ve learned over my career that you solve more problems with a telephone than a megaphone,” Banks said in a statement. “I have stood with union members demanding fair wages, worked with community and faith leaders on racial and social justice measures, and organized with neighborhood leaders for police response and accountability. I won’t be making rebuttals to the State of the Union.”

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Light rail plans call for Capitol Hill Station to open in March… 2016

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(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

March 2016 will be a big month for Capitol Hill transit. If everything goes to plan — and it has, mostly, through four years of work so far — Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station and the 3.1 mile University Link extension of Sound Transit’s light rail network will begin “revenue service” a year from now.

In the agency’s “2015 Service Implementation Plan” (PDF), Sound Transit planners lay out the timeline for the $1.8 billion project to begin carrying passengers next March as part of its regular schedule of service changes through its various bus and rail services.

Trial runs on the line are expected to begin “in Fourth Quarter 2015,” according to the document produced last December. “Testing for the University extension is expected to begin either at or sometime during the September 2015 service change,” the document notes elsewhere in the plan.

UPDATE: We’ll let you parse this response from a Sound Transit spokesperson:

We really don’t know that U Link will open in March, 2016. All we know right now is that it will be in the first quarter – could be anytime Jan-March at this point. The service changes that the SIP referred to are any changes that happen as/after U Link opens, not the usual service changes that happen in February.

The spokesperson tells us that Sound Transit is planning to update the document “to say U Link opens in Q1 next year.” The original wording? “Testing for this alignment will begin in Fourth Quarter 2015 with revenue service anticipated to begin with the March 2016 service change.”

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Broadway Whole Foods project design — though ‘too timid,’ ‘too much a solid block’ — approved for next round in review process

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 7.39.02 PMDespite concerns from the board about the building’s unique combination of both bulk and height and with support but also questions from residents concerned about truck traffic and the building’s multiple visible facades, the design for the 16-story development planned to be home to a Whole Foods at Broadway and Madison was moved forward Wednesday night in its first step in Seattle’s design review process.

The review board felt the design presented Wednesday was “too timid” and “too much of a solid block” for such a large project on an important corner between Capitol Hill and First Hill. “I’m not seeing a gateway statement,” one board member said. But the board also agreed it could provide enough guidance to the architects and developers to move the project through to the final “recommendation” phase of the review process.

In making their decision, the board members said the project’s developers and designers needed to come to the next phase with a proposal that better mitigated the bulk of a 16-story, full-block building and create a larger plaza on the prominent corner. Continue reading

On the List | Chop Suey ‘soft’ re-opening, Central Area Neighborhood Greenway, The Flick and dance at 12th Ave Arts, Savvy Marketplace

constant3An old friend returns to service with a cleaned-up look and wicked awesome new sound system this weekend as the re-born Chop Suey makes a “soft opening” Friday night. CHS wrote here about the new owners and the new features including The Den, the venue’s upgraded bar that will keep the space in motion even when there is nobody rocking the two stages now part of the venue. Following the 6th’s soft start, things get heavy on March 13th with the Chop’s (already sold out) official grand opening.

The Central Area Neighborhood Greenway construction has had more “ready to start” announcements than any project in recent memory. The route of calmed streets for walkers, bikers, and drivers will connect the CD to Capitol Hill to Montlake. Thursday night, you can learn all about the start of construction (there it is again!) Thursday night at the Garfield Community Center.

12th Ave Arts will keep its stages busy this weekend with the debut of The Flick — “humorous, timely story about “veteran usher Sam” discussing “life and movies” — and the first of two weekends of Believe Me Or Not — “a new dance-theater escapade by AJnC Dance.”

On Sunday, we shop. The Savvy Marketplace returns to Pike/Pine’s Sole Repair:

On March 8th, The Savvy Marketplace is back at it for the fourth consecutive month with high quality, thoughtfully chosen local artisans. With other fun attractions like live music, a huge raffle, cocktails and coffee, it’s hard to compare it to your normal craft market.

Not enough fun? Find more to do on and around Capitol Hill on the CHS Calendar. Continue reading

CHS Pics | 12th Ave lion dance

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

In 2010, Chungee’s said hello to its new neighborhood with a lion dance to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. Five years later, the 12th at Denny venue has been joined by a small community of Chinese restaurants on the Hill including the new Zhu Dang on E Olive Way and Regent at 14th and Pine. The Goat will also bring a new Chinese spot to the Hill as Poppy owner Jerry Traunfeld opens Lionhead next door on Broadway. Chungee’s and its new friends are hopefully enjoying brisk business as diners celebrate the new Year of the Goat. On Sunday, owners Wen Long and Tom Farrell welcomed back the lion dancers and again filled 12th Ave with gongs and exploding firecrackers. Happy New Year. Continue reading

LGBTQ youth shelter and nighttime shuttle for Capitol Hill get support at anti-violence forum

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(Images: Alex Garland)

unnamed-8A public forum to address LGBTQ violence on Capitol Hill drew what organizers said was around 300 people to Capitol Hill’s All Pilgrims Church Tuesday night. The city’s mayor joined in and spoke as did many trans residents who shared stories of violent attacks.

City Council member Kshama Sawant organized the forum to find solutions to making Capitol Hill feel safer for the neighborhood’s LGBT community in the wake of several high profile attacks over the past year. The first-year council member and candidate to lead the new District 3 focused on economic inequality as a driver of anti-gay violence in a preview of the forum with CHS.

Building a new LGBT youth shelter on Capitol Hill was one proposal that drew repeated applause through the night Tuesday. Sawant said she would do “everything in my power” to get money for a shelter in the city budget.

Jackie Sandberg, who works for Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, drew a standing ovation for sharing personal stories about the dangers homeless queer youth face in the neighborhood.

“Street culture is not kind to queers,” Sandberg said.  Continue reading

Station 7 boutique to join 15th Ave E in former home of Capitol Hill’s ‘last video shop’

Sorry to Ethan Stowell and the other food and drink barons of Capitol Hill on a seemingly neverending quest for new spaces to conquer — 15th Ave E’s old fire station will not be yours.

Station 7, a “really fun art gallery with furniture, jewelry, and home goods,” will open this spring in the ground floor of the brick building at 15th Ave E and E Harrison formerly home to On 15th Video.

“I really wanted it to be close to home,” Danielle Yoakum Tilden tells CHS. “I wanted it to be a neighborhood thing.”


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New Capitol Hill parks: One overdue for construction, one waiting for bid, one in search of grants

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special to CHS

This time last year, CHS posted updates on various small park projects around Capitol Hill, including Broadway Hill Park, 12th Avenue Square Park, and Cayton Corner Park. Here are our spring 2014 updates on Broadway Hill and 12th Ave Square and here is what we had to say about the naming of Cayton Corner.

Some of these small park projects have taken years to get off the ground, which can be baffling to neighbors who watch plots go unused season after season. The sluggish pace of development often comes down to lack of funding. Some cities, including Seattle, have cultivated corporate sponsorships to boost programming and construction times with mixed results.

Thankfully, funding is now complete or near compete for these three projects underway on Capitol Hill:

IMG_0756Broadway Hill Park — 500 Federal Ave E — Target: End of 2015
Thanks to a $750,000 city grant in 2014, bids are out to construct the Broadway Hill Park at Federal and E Republican. Work is expected to start this summer. “We are still looking at the end of the year to finish the project and will have better dates once a contractor is on board,” said project coordinator Toby Ressler.

The park is expected to cost $767,500. The remaining $17,500 from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple grant will pay for for the schematic design, which will include community gardening, artwork and open spaces. Continue reading

City Council Notes | Preschool plan planning, homeless camps approval, Seattle Transit Advisory Board wants you

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

Here’s the latest from City Hall:

  • Pre-K plan: Wednesday, the City Council’s education committee will take up legislation from the mayor’s office for implementing Seattle’s new pre-K education plan:
    The implementation plan provides details about how the preschool program will be rolled out, and how it will work toward meeting its goal of closing the achievement gap for Seattle’s youngest learners.“Included in this implementation plan are the key ingredients to creating a successful program that will make a difference in the lives of young children and their families across our city,” said Murray. “With the plan’s focus on quality, we’re working to ensure that the children participating in the Seattle Preschool Program will be ready for school and have the foundation to succeed in school and life.”
  • Homeless encampments: The planning and land use committee and chair Mike O’Brien approved the city’s plan to regulate homeless encampments by permitting three camps in Seattle. Kshama Sawant’s amendment seeking to expand the area where the camps will be allowed to include residential neighborhoods was not adopted but an extension of the bill to allow the University of Washington and other schools to potentially host the facilities was approved. The full council will vote on the legislation March 23rd. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Li’l Woody’s says happy Seattle Burger Month

The Golden Beetle Burger -- "harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries"

The Golden Beetle Burger — “harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries”

Li’l Woody’s owner Marcus Lalario is a connected man. A Pike/Pine entrepreneur who has survived the neighborhood’s transition to the the entertainment district big time and investor in food, drink, and retail ventures on the Hill and beyond, Lalario’s Pine burger shop is making some fun connections of its own this month with a one-of-a-kind promotion featuring special creations from some great Seattle chefs:

Throughout March 2015, Li’l Woody’s will be featuring a new burger each week. From fried chicken skin to pickled serranos, these one-of-a-kind concoctions are not to be missed. For those who try each burger, they will receive an exclusive “I Survived Burger Month” t-shirt!

A few of the participants like Sitka and Spruce’s Matt Dillon have deep Capitol Hill roots. Others like Renee Erickson are just getting started. Here’s a look at the star chefs — and their creations:

  • Maria Hines is the head chef / owner of The Golden Beetle in Ballard. The winner of numerous awards, including the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest, Hines has been making noise in the chef game since 2003, even emerging victorious in Iron Chef America’s “Battle of Pacific Cod”. Hines now owns 3 restaurants (including Tilth and Agrodolce) with the highly esteemed organic certification from Oregon Tilth. Her Golden Beetle Burger includes harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries.
  • Matt Dillon is the owner and chef at Sitka & Spruce, Bar Sajor and more. A proponent of local and seasonal cooking, Dillon was the winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest as well as the 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef award. Dillon is also the culinary mastermind behind The Corson Buildingand London Plane. His Kluck Burger boasts maple syrup, grilled raddichio, fried chicken skin, Beecher’s flagship cheese, 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef and mayonnaise, on a bun grilled with brown butter. Continue reading

Blotter | Heroin overdose concerns, 11/Pike beating, Broadway/Pike phone robbery

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

  • Heroin ODs: Seattle Police are warning heroin users of a possible increase in overdoses and reminding people of the state’s good samaritan law after six ODs were reported Monday around Seattle including two simultaneous emergency responses inside Pacific Place mall:
    Police and Seattle Fire Department medics have seen an increase today in the number of reported heroin overdoses, and would like to remind the public of a Washington State law designed to curb opiate overdose deaths.As of 4 P.M. Monday, both police and fire officials received at least six reports of overdoses in North Seattle and downtown, requiring hospitalization.Washington’s “Good Samaritan Law”  offers legal protection against drug possession charges to anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose. If you or anyone you know is overdosing on drugs,please remember you can call 911 for help without the fear of prosecution. Continue reading

$1B Washington State Convention Center expansion means big changes across I-5

One concept for the center's expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

One concept for the center’s expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

There is a $1 billion plan afoot that will radically transform the connection between Capitol Hill and downtown. Tuesday night, a public process begins to shape the massive expansion of the Washington State Convention Center:

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The quadrilateral area above is the planned home for the expanded center (Image: WSCC)

The quadrilateral area above is the planned home for the expanded center (Image: WSCC)

Powered by its bonding authority, the WSCC has already acquired $56.5 million worth of land between 9th and Boren, and Howell and Olive Way that is today home to a Honda dealership. King County’s transit center block is also on the WSCC’s acquisition target list.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the total cost of the project is expected to reach $1 billion. The center hopes to begin construction by 2017. Continue reading

Sawant says economic disparities underpin Capitol Hill hate crimes ahead of LGBTQ forum

10498060_10101874770097606_3032210991963063043_o-21-356x550How to make Capitol Hill feel safer for the neighborhood’s LGBTQ community, especially during peak nightlife hours, is a question that seems to elude any simple answers. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is hoping to hear some solutions at an open community forum the councilor and candidate to lead District 3 organized for Tuesday night at All Pilgrims Church.

The forum will be moderated by Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, and is slated to include the following panel:

Zach Pullin – Acting President, Capitol Hill Community Council

Lils Fujikawa –Queer Network Program Coordinator, API Chaya

Raven E. Heavy Runner – Acting Co-Chair, Northwest Two-Spirit Society, MSW

Christie Santos-Livengood – UW Graduate Student, Master Public Health

Shaun Knittel – President & Founder, Social Outreach Seattle; Seattle Gay News Associate Editor

Marta Idowu – Seattle LGBT Commission Liaison, Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Sawant is not generally seen as a leader on council when it comes to public safety, but it’s likely to be a key issue in this year’s Council District 3 race. Statistics and anecdotal accounts point to an increase in bias crime incidents within the newly formed district, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central District. The political concern is definitely on the rise.

For Sawant, her bread-and-butter issues of economic inequality and affordable housing are crucial to preserving LGBTQ culture and safety on Capitol Hill.

“I want to make an appeal to everyone to connect these (crime) issues to larger economic issues,” she told CHS. “Underlying all of this is that people of color, LGBTQ people, working people are finding this city increasingly unlivable.” Continue reading

Mayor lays out 10-year plan for Seattle transportation including Broadway streetcar extension, Madison BRT

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices," Mayor Murray's plan promises

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices,” Mayor Murray’s plan promises

"The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day"

“The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day”

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.09.21 PMTeeing up a ballot measure this fall to help pay for it all, Mayor Ed Murray rolled out his Move Seattle plan Monday including an “A to X” (come on city planners, you couldn’t think of two more initiatives!) roster of transportation projects being planned to make Seattle’s streets safer and more efficient by 2024. The plan includes projects with a combined budget of $835 million.

Longterm goals include a roster of safety initiatives and the target of providing “72% of Seattle residents with 10-minute all-day transit service within a 10-minute walk of their homes.” Continue reading

Gnocchi Bar finds a Capitol Hill food+drink home, gently used

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

1780969_602676619854323_1137015374871159130_oA Capitol Hill space that has run the food and drink gamut starting with a quickly shuttered investor-backed barstaurant start-up will take on new life soon with a project that has been seeking a home since early last year.

Lisa Nakamura will open her Gnocchi Bar in the Packard Building at 12th and Pine, the chef announced Monday. Highly anticipated by the city’s foodie crowd, Nakamura has been searching for a berth for her project celebrating the hearty pasta.  Continue reading