Found pianos of Capitol Hill

I was walking through Capitol Hill, Seattle one weekend, and encountered an abandoned piano at the side of the road. I decided it needed a final piece of loving, so I recorded it in my phone. The next week I found the piano had been joined by a second, and both pianos had had their keyboards smashed. So I played the strings directly. Both pieces reflect the decay and misuse of the pianos, and the environment they spent a short time in before going to their final resting place.

We don’t know anything more about it than what we found here where you can download both tracks — One piano with working keys and One piano with destroyed keys — of this very Capitol Hill music project.

Fat’s Fried Chicken and Waffles to ‘keep the soul’ at MLK and Cherry

The next man to inherit the corner has mad respect for the legacy of soul at MLK and Cherry.

“I ate at Catfish Corner all the time,” Marcus Lalario tells CHS. “To be able to get that spot means more to me than anything else about the new venture.”

Later this year, Lalario will open Fat’s Fried Chicken and Waffles in the space left empty after the much-loved soul food joint suddenly closed last summer following 30 years of fried goodness and a black-owned business at the corner.

(Image: Catfish Corner)

(Image: Catfish Corner)

“With all my spaces, I try to keep a little bit of the past in there,” Lalario said. Expect plenty of Old Seattle nostalgia when Fat’s opens this summer.

You will also find “straightup Southern” with “fried thighs and drumsticks” and, yes, waffles and biscuits from Patrick Dours, “a New Orleans native who has cooked at the Doe Bay and Rosario resorts on Orcas Island,” Seattle Met reports as it broke the news on the new project. Lalario, known for his entrepreneurial nightlife and food and drink investments, said he’s not sure, yet, on whether he’ll pursue a liquor license for Fat’s. By August, Lalario expects Fat’s to be open for dinner hours from around 4 to 9 PM with brunch and then breakfast hours (and “breakfast all the time” options) following. Continue reading

Startup FlyBuy building new mobile ‘curbside’ shopping service on E Pine

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 2.28.26 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-23 at 2.41.14 PMIf a new Capitol Hill-based startup has its way, nearly every storefront will be turned into a drive-through. Flybuy, a new mobile app company, is headquartered in an unassuming retail space on E Pine. Its business model is to help retailers and customers avoid the hassle of parking and be part of the next wave of online commerce.

screen322x572“It’s a 21st century drive through,” said Chapin Henry, the company’s chief operating officer.

There was huge buzz in tech media this week as an Uber co-founder unveiled details of Operator, a “shopping concierge” system designed to “unlock the 90% of commerce that’s not on the Internet.”

On E Pine near 14th Ave, Henry and Flybuy are making a push for similar turf. The app allows users to make orders for goods and services through participating retailers. The stores provide an estimate of how long it will take to fill the order. Customers can then drive to the store as the business is notified that the customer has arrived. An employee then meets the person at the curb for a quick pick-up. People pay through the app.

It might seem somewhat cumbersome but when the new turf of an Operator-type world of commerce starts to get claimed, there’s a good chance services like Flybuy could play a part. Continue reading

Mental health, tenants rights, and heroin overdose bills with Capitol Hill ties go to governor’s desk

Walkinshaw, left, at the start of the session in Olympia

Walkinshaw, left, at the start of the session in Olympia

Two bills inspired by the death of Joel Reuter on Capitol Hill in 2013 and another bill seeking to make a heroin overdose antidote more widely available were passed out of the state legislature Wednesday. The bills, two of which were sponsored by Capitol Hill’s Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, now head to Governor Jay Inslee to sign into law.

HB 1258, known as Joel’s Law, would strengthen involuntarily commitment guidelines for people suffering from mental illness. If a county decides a person did not meet the threshold for involuntarily commitment, direct family members of that individual could appeal the decision under the new law.

Walkinshaw’s bill was inspired Joel Reuter’s tragic 2013 death on Capitol Hill. Reuter was killed in his Bellevue and E Denny Way apartment by a police sniper when Reuter, suffering from a manic episode, fired a handgun toward police.

Reuters parents were instrumental in getting the law passed, saying they had tried for months to have a mental health professional recommend to a judge that their son should be involuntarily held at a hospital for treatment.

After Joel Reuter’s death, his parents found out there can be some frustrating barriers when it comes to retrieving property from inside a deceased family member’s apartment. HB 1574, another bill inspired by Reuter, would require tenants to provide landlords with contact information for person that will have control over their belongings in the event of the tenant’s death. The bill was passed on to Inslee Wednesday for signing.

Walkinshaw’s other bill, HB 1671 would expand access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the deadly effects of a heroin overdose. The bill, which was also passed out of the legislature Wednesday, would allow pharmacists to prescribe naloxone to first responders, homeless shelters, and family members and permit them to administer it across the state.

With protest from nonprofit Capitol Hill Housing to be resolved, deal to develop Capitol Hill Station moves forward

Site B South (below the birdies) will be market rate, across the street from Cal Anderson, and probably pretty nice (Image:

Site B South (below the birdies) will be market rate, across the street from Cal Anderson, and probably pretty nice (Image:

The Sound Transit Board including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray voted Thursday to approve Motion No. M2015-34 authorizing the start of negotiations with Gerding Edlen for the Portland-based developer to lease or purchase — and then develop — the transit agency’s two acres of land surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

But the process still has some negotiation to shake out before all is said and done on the selection of the “master developer.”

According to the Sound Transit board memorandum on the motion, “a protest has been submitted that relates solely to Site B-North. Staff will evaluate the protest and will issue a written decision consistent with Sound Transit’s protest procedures.”

Nonprofit developer Capitol Hill Housing sent the letter of protest over the selection, CHS has learned. CEO Chris Persons confirmed the protest but told CHS he couldn’t discuss details until talks with Gerding Edlen were wrapped up in coming weeks. Capitol Hill Housing had been part of a proposal with the Jonathan Rose Companies to develop the properties.

In an email sent from Capitol Hill Housing to Sound Transit, Persons wrote that the nonprofit developers would file “a formal protest regarding Sound Transit’s determination to enter into negotiations with an organization other than a qualified not-for-profit for the acquisition and development of site B-North at the Capitol Hill Redevelopment site.”

“We sincerely believe that an honest mistake has been made,” Persons writes, adding that CHH holds Gerding Edlen “in the highest regard.”

Continue reading

How Pike/Pine can copy Portland’s nightlife pedestrian-only zone

Why not every weekend? (Image: timdurkan via Flickr)

Why not every weekend? (Image: timdurkan via Flickr)

While East Precinct’s new commander — literally — wrestles with getting Pike/Pine nightlife crime under control, and SPD and the FBI crack down on identified “open air drug markets” including the streets around Cal Anderson, a smaller effort underway to assemble a plan to make the neighborhood a safer place on crowded weekends can look to our neighbors to the south for an example of the initiative in action.

In March, CHS reported on funding for a study to sort out how to create a pedestrian-only zone in the middle of the Pike/Pine nightlife district. The Seattle Police Department sees the project as a promising way to better manage the late-night clash of cars and hordes of people streaming out of bars, officials say.

So how might it work? Here’s a recent message from the Portland Police Department:

entertainment_districtmapHere’s how the PPD explains the zone:

In December 2012, Mayor Sam Adams began a pilot program to address safety issues in Portland’s Entertainment District–an area within Old Town. Since that time, City Council has voted to continue this program, where on Friday and Saturday nights, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., police close roads in this district, creating a pedestrian-only zone.

This area attracts large crowds of people to area nightclubs and bars.  The safety issues prior to the closure included large crowds packing the sidewalks and spilling over into the streets.  Police also were responding to calls of intoxicated people stepping out into traffic, urinating and other issues.  Since the closures, the Entertainment District has since seen a significant drop in offenses and criminal cases.

Mayor Hales has conducted town hall meetings and has formed a Stakeholders Advisory Council to address issues affected by the closures.

This map shows the regular boundaries affected by the closures; police have the authority to alter these boundaries and the time frame as needed.

Would the same strategy help around E Pike? Judging by the weekend blotter items in our crime coverage, it seems unlikely to hurt.

UPDATE: Another component to consider in all of this is where best to stage taxi and car services. SDOT has plans to install 10 new car stands this year and is looking for feedback. The deadline was reportedly April 20th but drop a line if you’re so inclined.


PUBLIC Bikes now open on E Pine

(Image: SBB)

(Image: SBB)

Scenes from construction on E Pine (Image: PUBLIC)

Scenes from construction on E Pine (Image: PUBLIC)

By Tom Fucoloro, Seattle Bike Blog — Special to CHS

In a storefront most recently home to an anarchist coffee co-op, PUBLIC Bikes shop opened Wednesday at Pine and Summit.

PUBLIC’s grand opening party planned for closer to June, said company VP Bryan Shawley.

The Seattle store is the company’s first location outside of the Bay Area. With a focus on stylish and mostly affordable bikes, Seattle has already proven to be a good market for the company with strong sales online and at Ride Bicycles on Roosevelt (a Seattle Bike Blog sponsor).

CHS reported on the Bay Area-based bike retailer’s plans for E Pine earlier this year. “We looked at several neighborhoods and Capitol Hill was always at the top of the list,” a company spokesperson said. “It’s central, bike friendly, and we love that our location is along the Pine Street corridor.”

The newly opened Seattle shop feels more like a boutique than a more typical parts garage bike shop. And don’t expect to take your non-PUBLIC bike there for a tune-up. At least at first, they are only going to be servicing PUBLIC brand bikes (though if you just need something small like a flat fixed, they can probably help you out).

(Image: SBB)

(Image: SBB)

PUBLIC Bikes will be open 11 to 7 Monday through Saturday, 11 to 6 Sunday.

The new location is well-positioned to take advantage of Capitol Hill’s bike shop desert still left dry since Velo moved from 11th and Pine to 6th and Blanchard. The closest shops are 20/20 Cycle in the Central District or REI and Play-It-Again Sports in South Lake Union.

Speaking of 20/20, owner Alex Kostelnik has some pretty cool plans for an electric cargo bike shop at 23rd and Union. Stay tuned for more news about Electric Lady.

Now the city just needs to accelerate plans for a protected bike lane on E Pike, which would open the bikeablity flood gates on Capitol Hill. Imagine a complete and connected bike facility from Pike Place Market to Broadway and beyond…

PUBLIC Bikes is located at 501 E Pine. You can learn more at

Tom writes about Seattle bikes and more at

On the List | Cobain documentary makes exclusive weeklong run at Egyptian


Kurt Cobain committed suicide at his Lake Washington Blvd home in April 1994. For most millennials, that puts the Nirvana frontman in the realm of Seattle music legend. For those old enough to have seen Nirvana perform here, Cobain’s legacy is enriched by memories of his shows and the surreal period of time he and the city were riding the crest of pop culture.

A new documentary on Cobain, Montage of Heck, attempts to paint another portrait of the artist, expressed through home videos, animated art, and the piles of journals Cobain kept throughout his life.

Starting Thursday night, Capitol Hill will be home to a one-week exclusive theatrical run of the film at SIFF Cinema Egyptian prior to the documentary’s May 4th release on HBO.

The film premiered at the Cinerama theater Wednesday night followed by a discussion with director Brett Morgan. “As I was coming into Seattle on the plane it just felt so right. There’s no place we should be than here,” Morgan said.

More on the film — and this weekend’s lineup of Capitol Hill-area events, below. Continue reading

Sawant will call on state lawmakers to lift rent control ban at Affordable Housing Town Hall

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.49.26 PMWhen City Council member Kshama Sawant started calling for rent control during her first campaign for public office in 2012, the idea was largely met with a “here we go again” attitude. Three years later, Sawant is harnessing public frustration over rising rents and the momentum from her role in passing Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law to make a push for rent control in Seattle a reality.

For years, many in Seattle have dismissed the issue (including House Speaker Frank Chopp), calling it a pointless political debate while a statewide ban enjoys widespread support in the state legislature. Today, the chances that Olympia warms to rent control still seems slim at best and mostly preempts any discussion about whether it could pass in Seattle.

But the former economics professor is making rent control a top issue in her bid to be the first representative of the Capitol Hill-centered Council District 3.

To further elaborate her thoughts and strategy on rent control — and give voice to the citizenry, Sawant is holding an affordable housing town hall Thursday night at City Hall. Council member Nick Licata, who is departing from the council this year, will be joining Sawant to lead the discussion. Continue reading

SPD rolls out ‘Micro Community Policing Plans’ — UPDATE: Downtown operations a sign of things to come in Pike/Pine

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.50.11 PMThe Seattle Police Department is pushing the city’s neighborhood watches — keeping eyes on everything from suspicious magazine sales teams to car prowls and most everything in between — online. In a partnership with privately held social media network Nextdoor, SPD is dividing its precincts into 55 “micro communities” and promising specific public safety plans and updates for neighbors:

Micro Community Policing Plans (MCPP) take a unique three-pronged approach to fighting crime in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

  • Maintaining accurate and timely data that is relentlessly followed-up on.
  • Working directly with the community to ensure that we are meeting their priorities.
  • Partnering with Seattle University to conduct independent review to refine our approach. Continue reading