Seattle LGBTQ Task Force recommendations include public safety, youth — and more rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Its signs may be blue and white but the crosswalks around Capitol Hill Station will be rainbows. While it likely won’t be the most effectual of the recommendations, a proposal to add more rainbow crosswalks to Capitol Hill is part of a plan released Thursday by Mayor Ed Murray’s LGBTQ Task Force “to support a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people in Seattle.”

Let’s hope this one doesn’t get rolled back.

“Seattle has long been a place where everyone can find an accepting and tolerant home,” Murray is quoted as saying in the announcement of the task force recommendations. “We celebrate our history of advancing equity for the LGBTQ community and we will support efforts to make Seattle even more inclusive. Thank you to the task force for identifying these actions to reduce the violent attacks and verbal harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”

The LGBTQ Task Force plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding:

·         Seattle Police Department will continue the Safe Place program to identify local businesses that will shelter victims of harassment until officers arrive.

·         The Department of Neighborhoods will use Neighborhood Matching Funds to support projects that promote LGBTQ safety.

·         The City will direct more resources to support Project EQTY and other social service providers that work with LGBT youth. Continue reading

A District 3 look at what’s happening in the two Seattle-wide City Council races

The Position 8 gang

If you’re one of the roughly 55,000 registered voters in District 3 who hasn’t turned in a ballot ahead of the August 4th primary, maybe you’re still trying to decide what to do about those two at-large seats.

All Seattle voters can cast a ballot for candidates running for the citywide Position 8 and Position 9 seats on the Council. In theory, the two at large council seats were left in place so those members could vote with a full Seattle perspective and champion broad issues on the council like transit or pre-K education.

View the latest results

Earlier this month, KUOW took the time to briefly interview all four Position 8 candidates and all six Position 9 candidates at Seattle locations of their choosing. The Seattle CityClub also hosted a July 15th debate that featured candidates from both races. Candidates have been making news in other ways, too.

First, a look at the piggy banks. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Undaunted by Seattle wage debate, Ian’s moves in where Zpizza bailed

The Broadway location formerly home to the Zpizza chain stands empty this summer, pundits say, because of Seattle’s new minimum wage law. We don’t know what pundits will say about this. Come October, a new pizza chain will have moved into the same space. And the new owners seem way more into this whole $15 per hour thing.

“My friends and family brought it up more than people in the business,” Brandon Stottler tells CHS. “It feels more like the right thing to do to respect service workers and what they do.”

This fall, Stottler and business partner Ryan Flohr will open Ian’s Pizza on the Hill in the Broadway Building just north of Pine in the same space vacated by the minimum wage-challenged chain. Part of a small chain of Madison, Wisconsin-based pizza joints that proudly offers health insurance to its employees, the Ian’s philosophy is much more sympatico with Seattle’s pro-labor movement.

Its pizza is pretty out there, too. “We try to get really weird with our pizza,” Stottler said. Continue reading

On the List | Seattle Art Fair Tableaux Vivant installation in Volunteer Park, Blue Angels, Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation

(Image: Wendy Red Star)

(Image: Wendy Red Star)

This weekend’s first ever Seattle Art Fair will include a Capitol Hill component. Artist Wendy Red Star is creating Tableaux Vivant: Nature’s Playground — “an imagined wilderness of assorted hunting decoys” including bears, birds, and deer — at Volunteer Park:

Visitors to the park and fair-goers alike are encouraged to pose within the landscape of this semi-fake and natural environment for selfies or photographs taken by the artist. Red Star is using social media as a way to document her piece and will provide a special hashtag to the public to use when they image share on their social media platforms.

The installation should be ready Friday afternoon and is planned to be in place through Sunday.

This weekend also bring SeaFair festivities to the area including the incredible and incredibly loud, totally amazing war machines, the Blue Angels:

  • Thursday: 9:45 a.m. – noon: 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Friday, July 31: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Saturday, Aug. 1: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)
  • Sunday, Aug. 2: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)

More things to do: Celebrate Medicare’s 50th birthday with a free cupcake at Group Health Capitol Hill, meet the neighbors at the first ever First Hill Fidos dog contest, stop through the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation at the Broadway Performance Hall, or take a stroll on the Harvard/Belmont Walking Tour.

To find even more events on and around Capitol Hill or to add your own, check out the CHS Calendar. Continue reading

Mayor backs off affordability recommendation for Seattle single-family zones

Backing down from slow growth opposition and in a nod to a wave of bungalow nostalgia, Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday afternoon he will not support one of the most controversial — and possibly widely impactful — elements of the 60+ recommendations from his Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Committee.

Murray said Wednesday he will not support the recommendation that could have opened 94% of single-family zones in Seattle to more multi-family style development to help offset soaring rents.

In the announcement, the mayor blamed “sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets” for helping to create the backlash. “The Council and I created the HALA process because our city is facing a housing affordability crisis,” Murray is quoted as saying. “In the weeks since the HALA recommendations were released, sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets has created a significant distraction and derailed the conversation that we need to have on affordability and equity.”

UPDATE: Council president — and candidate for citywide Position 8 — Tim Burgess foreshadowed the announcement with an updated posted Tuesday about HALA’s recommendations:

While the list of recommendations from HALA is long, one specific policy has received the most attention and criticism from neighborhoods across Seattle. It’s the recommendation that single-family zoning be relaxed in all areas of the city to allow for new duplexes, triplexes and stacked flats, a policy some believe will lead to speculators buying up homes, tearing them down, and replacing them with more expensive multi-family structures. We should take a step back from any policy that leads to that kind of speculation, disruption, and the widespread loss of existing, more affordable housing.

Meanwhile, support for an alternative affordability plan galvanized Wednesday as a coalition of City Council candidates has pledged to pursue the plan from HALA member and Position 8 candidate Jon Grant. Grant’s plan calls for an expanded linkage fee program that includes residential development in order to fund construction of 9,000 units of affordable housing for households at 0-30% of area median income — 4,000 more units than recommended by the HALA committee. Grant would also dedicate 5,000 of those units towards homeless housing.

The full announcement from the mayor’s office is below. Continue reading

Little Oddfellows ready to open inside Elliott Bay Book Company

(Images: Little Oddfellows)

It wasn’t as big a surprise as finding out Atticus Finch is a racist, but Little Oddfellows wasn’t in the plans. This spring, Capitol Hill food and drink veteran Linda Derschang told CHS her decision to take over the cafe space inside Elliott Bay Book Company was too good an opportunity to pass up.

This weekend, Derschang will unveil her version of a literary cafe:

Little Oddfellows will be making its debut this weekend inside of Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill.  The menu includes baked goods and desserts, coffee and espresso from Caffe Vita, sandwiches, grain salads, and housemade juices and scratch sodas.  Beer and wine will also be available.

Little Oddfellows will be open at 10am on Saturday, August 1st.  It joins Linda’s Tavern, King’s Hardware, Smith, Oddfellows Cafe+Bar, Bait Shop, and Tallulah’s as part of The Derschang Group.

Little Oddfellows is open from 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and from 10am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.  The Derschang Group has been a long-time admirer of both Elliott Bay Book Company and Caffe Vita and are very excited to partner with both of them.

Following a summer buildout, Little Oddfellows replaces the Elliott Bay Cafe after Tamara Murphy said she decided not to renew her lease for the space to “pursue other interests and projects.” Murphy and her cafe accompanied the legendary and last of its kind Seattle bookstore in its move to Capitol Hill from Pioneer Square in 2010.

From the business side of things, the opening also presents the opportunity to see how Derschang’s managers integrate a counter entity added on to their ongoing operations at Oddfellows. Ericka Burke will unveil a similar set-up on 11th Ave when her “juice and provisions” counter opens at Chop Shop.

Meanwhile, Derschang isn’t the only Capitol Hill food and drink maven taking a bookish turn this summer. The guys behind Lost Lake and the Comet are preparing to open Hemingway-inspired Ernest Loves Agnes “later this summer” in the old Kingfish Cafe space on 19th Ave E.

First Hill Fidos to take a bow (wow) in neighborhood’s ‘first ever’ canine contest

unnamed (1)First Hill is busy this summer making space for street parks and gathering for a new series of events to celebrate the community. First up Thursday night, First Hill Fidos:

The First Hill Improvement Association is proud to be programming a series of summer events along University Street. Our first event is in First Hill Park (Minor & University) and is an opportunity to show off your best friend! Neighbors can enter their dogs in a talent show, costume contest, and cutest dog contest!

Mark your calendars!

Thursday. July 30th
Registration begins at 5:30pm – Show at 6:00pm
First Hill Park
(Minor & University) 

This event will also feature hot dogs from local business Dirty Dogs, music, prizes, and the chance to build community with your two and four-legged neighbors on First Hill.

The summer series along University Street is funded through a grant by the Department of Neighborhoods, and our mission is to build community and enhance the public realm along this neighborhood green street.

This event is free and open to the public. Bring your dogs to enter in the contest or just come and behold the cuteness! Invite your friends and neighbors!

Email us at hello@universitystreet.org to pre-register or if you have questions.

The First Hill neighborhood has reportedly added 3,000 new residents in the last decade. Here’s your chance to meet some of them — and their dogs.

Meanwhile, Seattle Parks is looking for your feedback on its off-leash areas around the city:

We need your input on your recreational behavior and desires concerning Seattle’s off-leash areas in order to best meet our present and future demands and needs. The Seattle Animal Shelter estimates there are close to 150,000 dogs currently in the city of Seattle. Given the size of this user group, Parks will survey and analyze the recreational behaviors and characteristics of dog owners to help inform the Strategic Plan. This effort will be part of the larger recreation demand study currently underway.

You can take the off-leash survey here.

Review board says try, try again on Convention Center expansion design

BOREN-AVENUE-BEACONIt’s hard to say if the Boren Beacon concept, above, will survive. The development team working on the $1.4 billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center have been told they need to come back with a new plan that better melds with the surrounding streetscape following the project’s second design review last week.

CHS reported here on the latest designs for the project and criticism for the proposal.

The design review board decision to require an unusual third review at the early design guidance step of the process follows calls from a Capitol Hill development and design advocacy community group the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council that the massive project needed to do more to connect downtown to Capitol Hill along Pine and across I-5. “Aside from a series of vainglorious gestures along 9th Avenue, this is a large box with perfunctory spaces scattered along its perimeter that fall far short in fostering the kind of active civic life essential for this development; its current form, massing, and programmatic arrangement will make it challenging for this building to be the civic icon it should be,” the group wrote.

Previous to its review last week, the Convention Center project first faced the board in May. The project is slated to return for its third pass at the process in early October.

Socialist Alternative, with District 3 as model, creates new path for voters

IMG_7977Unknown-1You’ve seen the banners at political rallies and the sea of red t-shirts packed into City Hall. Socialist Alternative, a little known group outside Occupy and social justice circles just a few years ago, is a significant force in Seattle political activism.

The rise of SA has almost everything to do with the rise of it’s most prominent member, City Council member and District 3 candidate Kshama Sawant. With Sawant as the frontrunner in the August 4th primary, SA’s foothold in District 3 politics only seems to be growing stronger.

So, what is Socialist Alternative, exactly?

Technically, SA’s Seattle chapter is a registered nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington state. The national organization, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, is nominally based in New York City. The organization doesn’t qualify in Washington as a “major political party” because it hasn’t run a candidate for president that has received at least 5% of the vote. Since Seattle elections are officially non-partisan, it is mostly irrelevant in regards to how the primaries play out.

It’s a much different story when it comes to the politics. Continue reading

District 3 ballot returns outpacing other Seattle voters



DistrictsMap-3-383x550 (1)Nice work, District 3 voters. As of Tuesday night, the district representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, First Hill, and more of Central Seattle had the highest percentage of ballots returned with a relatively robust 12.6% mark.

You can track the totals with King County Elections here and find out more about how to return your ballot here. Ballots must be postmarked or dropped in an official county drop-box by 8 PM Capitol Hill Daylight Time on Tuesday, August 4th.

Meanwhile, South Seattle’s District 2 has seen the lowest return percentage at 8.9%.

Across all active and registered voters in Seattle, 10.2% of ballots have been returned.