With First Hill pavement parks success, city planning more in 2016 including one on Capitol Hill

If you climbed First Hill at University, Union, and Boylston last summer, you might have been surprised by the sudden appearance of a colorful Mediterranean-style plaza that had replaced a dingy and utterly confusing semi-triangular intersection. This is “UUB,” the pavement park put together by the First Hill Improvement Association and the City of Seattle. It was soon dotted with local residents who looked comfortably at home. Who wouldn’t want to hang out at this sunny space with its turquoise-painted pavement, café tables, and lime-green umbrellas reflecting up at the surrounding buildings?

UUB is one of two Pavement to Parks projects piloted over the summer under the city’s Adaptive Streets program. The other is the similarly turquoise pavement park at 9th and University. Their August openings were part of a summer of “tactical urbanism” around Central Seattle that included a lukewarm response to a new “streatery” opportunity and a test of a Pike/Pine pedestrian zone that rankled some area business interests while providing some fantastic photographic opportunities.

With space for parks in the neighborhoods around Capitol Hill requiring more and more creative solutions (see also: 12th Ave Square Park), reception for the First Hill parks has been more positive. In 2016, in fact, City Hall will move forward with similar projects in four more locations — including Capitol Hill.

Susan McLaughlin, urban design and transport strategic adviser to SDOT, summarized the feedback from residents. “We found that the success of the space was just the ability to sit in a safe open public space,” she said. “This is an area where the older apartment buildings don’t always have an open space of their own.” Continue reading

State Senate (barely) votes down anti-transgender bathroom bill

Capitol Hill businesses have increasingly solved for any legislative complications by creating gender neutral bathrooms like the facilities pictured here at the new Optimism Brewing (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill businesses have increasingly solved for any legislative complications by creating gender neutral bathrooms like the facilities pictured here at the new Optimism Brewing (Image: CHS)

There are more where this came from. Washington senators Wednesday narrowly voted down legislation to change a new policy guaranteeing the right of the state’s transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify.

Capitol Hill’s 43rd District Sen. Jamie Pedersen said the legislation would “send a terrible” message to transgender people before joining in the vote against the bill. The final tally showed the legislation failed to leave the senate by one vote — 24 to 25.

While Washington’s Democrat-controlled House likely means senate GOP-powered legislation on LGBTQ issues is likely doomed, for transgender people living in Washington and those who support them, there are more indignities to come in Olympia. “There are five more of these bills working through the legislature, including a so-called ‘genital check’ proposal,” the Stranger reports.

Head up to Capitol Hill’s Cloud Room to talk about small business design

(Image: Salt House Studios)

(Image: Salt House Studios)

Here’s your chance to visit The Cloud Room.

Salt House Studios will be hosting a Design Happy Hour in The Cloud Room, a co-working space situated on the fourth floor of Chophouse Row, Thursday from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

Holly Torneby, co-founder of the design studio, decided to bring together the Design Happy Hour to focus on big design on a small business budget.

Torneby and her business partner Holly Robins first met in 2012 when they were attending Seattle Central’s Creative Academy Design Program. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Pike/Pine plein air

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Love keeps finding CHS. We’ve already introduced you to a few Capitol Hill originals — Saab the writer, Alen̈a the violinist — to help you give your sweetie something special for Valentine’s Day. Here’s another idea we found this week while wandering around the Hill. You could create a Pine plein air painting for your lover. Check it out.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Challenged by construction, boosted by events and private parties, Zoe leaving restaurant biz

Zoe opened on Capitol Hill in February 2012 (Image: CHS)

Zoe opened on Capitol Hill in February 2012 (Image: CHS)

6884291377_e6cd0d5e47_bA mix of success with their growing events business and challenges to fine dining in the relentless development and construction zone that is Capitol Hill have convinced longtime Seattle food and drink veterans Heather and Scott Staples to transform 14th and Union’s Restaurant Zoe.

There is time for one last romantic dinner in Zoe as a full-fledged restaurant space — but after Valentine’s Day, it’s all about events.

“Fine dining has always been a bit of a challenge and a labor of love,” Heather Staples tells CHS. “Coupled with the construction challenges, it made it easier.”

Staples tells CHS that bookings at Staples Restaurant Group’s existing event space at Sole Repair — behind their Quinn’s Pub at 10th and Pike — have remained strong and present a new opportunity for the Staples as they transition yet again through 20 years of business in Seattle.

“I’ve had to really become an activist,” Staples said. “I feel like the city has really mismanaged the construction zone. We were just completely overwhelmed.”

“20 years we’ve been here, this is the toughest time,” she said. Continue reading

Blotter | SPD investigating attempted kidnapping of a woman on Capitol Hill

Stock Photo provided by SPD.

Stock photo provided by SPD.

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

  • Kidnapping attempt reported: Seattle police detectives are searching for a man who allegedly tried to kidnap a woman last week by forcing her into his truck.The 29-year-old woman told police she was walking near Bellevue and E Pine on February 2nd around 11:30 PM when a man driving in a dark blue pickup truck pulled alongside her, grabbed her arms, and told her to get in his car. When others noticed the woman screaming, the suspect drove off.The victim was unharmed. After working the case for a week, detectives are now turning to the public for help. SPD released the following details on the suspect:

    The woman described the suspect as a white male in his 40’s, 5’08”-5’10”, medium build, wearing a dark beanie or wool cap. The victim believed the suspect may had a cigarette in his mouth at the time of the incident.

    A witness described the truck as a dark blue 2000 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup truck, with tinted windows.

    If you have any information in this or similar cases please call Detective Michelle Gallegos at (206)684-5767.

  • Laundromat knife arrest: SPD has posted details of a situation CHS reported on via Twitter Tuesday afternoon that briefly closed down 12th Ave:
    Officers arrested a man Tuesday afternoon for narcotics and weapons charges after his erratic behavior caught the attention of a laundromat attendant. A laundromat employee called police to the 1800 block of 12 Ave when a man walked into the business and began yelling at himself. The upset man then pulled out a knife and waving it around. The employee took this opportunity to step outside, but as he did so a customer walked in the other entrance. That man, seeing the scene unfolding before him, reversed course and slowly backed out of the establishment. The two men called 911 while keeping any other people from entering the business. Officers quickly arrived and talked to the man, calming him down before placing him under arrest. Officers searched the man and found 2.4 grams of methamphetamine and a knife with a cereal box top sheath. Officers also found a second knife on a window ledge measuring a foot in length. The suspect was booked into King County Jail for narcotics,weapons, and menacing charges. Continue reading

SDOT says federal money for 1st Ave line won’t change Broadway streetcar extension plan

CCCSmallStartsApplication10-23-2015Officials say progress on a $75 million federal grant for a planned 1st Ave streetcar won’t necessarily affect the schedule for a possible 2017 start of construction for a two-stop Broadway extension to the recently opened First Hill route.

Tuesday, Seattle Department of Transportation officials said that the White House’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget — the last for President Barack Obama — includes 0.00182926829% for Seattle’s planned Center City Connector streetcar route envisioned as linking the First Hill Streetcar with the South Lake Union line by 2019. In total, SDOT says 25,000 riders per day could use the system — though few would find it useful to complete the Broadway to Westlake circuit via Occidental Square.

According to SDOT, the recommendation is only a first step toward a final grant agreement, which can only be completed after Congress approves the budget, “so we don’t expect the grant agreement before late 2016/early 2017.” Construction of the 1st Ave line would begin in 2017 and operations would mostly likely begin in 2019, a SDOT spokesperson said. Continue reading

Seattle has $7.6 million emergency plan for homeless and encampment sweeps — UPDATE

Encampments - 5 of 6

(Images: CHS)

When Mayor Ed Murray declared Seattle in a homeless state of emergency, it help put into motion $7.6 million to be spent on alleviating the crisis (not to mention the $40 million already budgeted for homeless services this year). On Wednesday, City Council members will be reviewing a plan on how to spend it. Using a mix of mayor-directed emergency funds and City Council-added money, the draft plan is broken into three categories:

  • Prevention efforts: $2.9 million
  • Supporting people to move out of encampments: $2.5 million
  • Meeting basic needs: $2.2 million

UPDATE: The human services committee advanced its $2.3 million emergency funding package to the full Council Wednesday following a wide-ranging and impassioned discussion of how the City is currently serving those sleeping outside. Added to the mayor’s $5.3 million, the funds will be used for homeless services like child care, day labor programs, emergency shelter for kids and adults, and diversion from encampments. $500,00 will be used for a mobile medical van expected to rollout this spring.

During a review of the spending plan, Council members once again wrestled with how the City conducts cleanups at unsanctioned encampments. $1.5 million of the total emergency funding pot is slated to to go toward encampment sweeps, which will fund nine outreach workers, cleanup crews, motel vouchers, and rehousing efforts. Sawant criticized the plan for putting far more money into sweeps compared to the $350,000 for sanctioned tent cities and questioned the public safety rationale behind the cleanups.

“The humanity has been missing, for the most part, towards homeless people,” she said.

Encampments - 1 of 6

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill Valentine violinist

Valentine's Violin - 1 of 6

While we were thinking about different ways to say I love you on Capitol Hill, CHS found Alen̈a hard at work Tuesday at the 15th and John Safeway earning money for a new violin with some Valentine-worthy performance. Stop by with your sweetie and drop a dollar or two in the can for love.

Second Capitol Hill pot shop approved for 15th Ave

IMG_5911The owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop may finally realize his aspirations to open a recreational marijuana store in his 15th and Republican building, even if the business itself isn’t his.

A West Seattle medical marijuana entrepreneur has been given the green light by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to open a retail marijuana shop in the space last home to the Capitol Hill Family Arcade.

The permit approval for Lion’s Heart puts owner Daniela Bernhard one step closer to opening Capitol Hill’s second pot shop in a building owned by fellow potreprenuer Ian Eisenberg. Bernhard was a co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle prior to moving ahead with her Capitol Hill business.

Bernhard did not respond to CHS requests for comment and Eisenberg said he could not comment on the approval. Continue reading