“As a Chinese person, seeing fake Chinese decor in a club that is not owned by Chinese people makes my heart sink,” Panda writes. “No one should have to see their own race caricatured in a venue that hosts so many great touring bands.” Continue reading →
Garfield High School teacher and activist Jesse Hagopian says he is suing the city after a Seattle Police officer hit him with pepper spray during a protest following this year’s MLK Day march and rallies earlier this month:
The James Bible Law Group will be filing a tort claim against the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department in relation to the senseless pepper spraying of a prominent Seattle School Teacher and activist shortly after his MLK day speech. Jesse Hagopian had finished giving a powerful speech about how black lives matter when he was sprayed with pepper spray by a Seattle Police Officer. He was on the phone with his mother and make plans to be at his two year old child’s birthday party when he was sprayed. It is notable that this irrational police action occurred while he was several feet onto a Seattle Sidewalk.
Longtime Seattle City Council members Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata both announced — here and here — last week that they will not seek reelection this fall. As of October, Licata was the Council’s most beloved member, while voters felt much more ‘meh’ toward Rasmussen. Licata says he wants to concentrate on building a national network of progressive city leaders, while Rasmussen says he wants to concentrate on policy rather than campaigning during the coming year.
But before they bow out, CHS asked both councilors: What did you ever do for the Hill?
Inside the Sunset Electric (Image: CHS)
Rasmussen “This was graffiti covered,” says Rasmussen, pointing at the Sunset Electric building. The top five stories are an exoskeleton of shimmering glass and metal balanced upon two bottom stories of quaint, old brick. “It was going to be bulldozed,” he says. “It was going to be torn down by the developer.”
But the building — which now resembles a titanic computer chip perched atop a frontier supply store — still stands, a physical manifestation of Capitol Hill’s future balanced on the shoulders of its past. This is due, Rasmussen says, to the legislation he championed to give developers a way to add to the Hill, rather than replace it. The result: a fast-growing brick-and-steel jungle which “preserves the character of the neighborhood,” rather than an asphalt savanna which erases it. Pointing out another old/new building on the northeast corner of the Madison/Union/12th intersection, Rasmussen says, “Extra floor on top, beautiful brick; I think it’s just inspiring.” Continue reading →
SPD’s report on the July 2014 incident puts on a happier face: “SPD Commanders first became aware of the incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges. The 69-year-old man had already accepted a plea offer in this case. Dawn Mason worked with Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Deputy Chief Carmen Best to broker an organized discussion between residents and police about this case specifically as well as the relationship between the department and the community in general.”
Tuesday, in advance of “a media outlet” reporting on video released “as a result of a public disclosure request,” SPD posted this update its Blotter blog with a line you don’t see every day in police announcements: “Deputy Chief Best personally met with the man, returned his golf club, and offered an apology for his arrest.”
Wednesday, The Stranger’s Ansel Herz reported on this video of Officer Cynthia Whitlach’s July 2014 arrest at 12th and Pike of William Wingate, a black, 70-year-old veteran who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club as a kind of multi-purpose walking stick:
On the video, Officer Whitlach can be heard insisting that the recording would show Wingate swinging his golf club at her and hitting a stop sign with it. According to the SPD, there exists no video to back up this claim. (SPD did not make Whitlach available for comment.)
“The allegation that he swung at the police car,” said city council member Bruce Harrell, who subsequently got involved in the case, “wasn’t corroborated by any other facts and was not caught on any video. What was caught on video was him minding his own business with the golf club at his side.”
Whitlach, standing behind her car, shouts at Wingate to drop his golf club 17 times, and claims that “it is a weapon.”
“You just swung that golf club at me,” Whitlach yells.
“No, I did not!” exclaims Wingate.
“Right back there,” Whitlach says back. “It was on audio and video tape.”
Wingate ended up in jail and charged with unlawful use of a weapon for the incident on the same block as East Precinct’s 12th and Pine headquarters. According to muni court records, he agreed to a conditional continuance. In September, a judge dismissed the case at the “satisfactory completion” of the agreement.
CHS has posted our recordings of East Precinct radio traffic from the minutes before and after the arrest. While in the video the officer describes seeing Wingate swing his club at her as she drove by 11th and Pike, you’ll note (around the 18-minute mark) that she never verbally reports any incident preceding the stop:
The Seattle Police Department insists racial bias played no role in the incident, the Stranger reports, adding that Wingate has filed a claim with the city for damages.
SPD says the officer was disciplined in the incident with counseling, a course of action that must be formally approved by the chain of command including East Precinct’s Capt. Pierre Davis who is also black. “The officer who made the arrest received counseling from her supervisor, a course of action that the department believes to be an appropriate resolution,” SPD writes.
UPDATE 9:00 PM: SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole has issued a response to the incident and says Capt. Davis has been “directed” to report on the decision to discipline Officer Whitlatch with counseling:
Today I heard many concerns from community members about the conduct of an SPD officer assigned to the East Precinct. These concerns are related to two incidents that occurred during the summer of 2014, one of which was detailed previously by our department. I have directed East Precinct commander Captain Pierre Davis to prepare a comprehensive report, to include his assessment of the officer’s performance and any supervisory measures that were taken to address her actions in these incidents.
In the statement, O’Toole references “two incidents” involving Whitlach from the summer 2014. It’s not yet clear what other incident she is referring to.
UPDATE 1/29/15 8:55 AM: A spokesperson for SPD has clarified that the second Whitlatch incident being investigated involves social media posts in a matter that was investigated by the Office of Professional Accountability but ultimately referred to Whitlatch’s supervisor. Here is one example of a post allegedly attributable to Whitlatch:
Seattle’s quest to become an International “City of Literature” will have a home on First Hill.
The Sorrento Hotel announced Wednesday that a new “book-filled conference room at the hotel, where readers and writers can work, meet, and learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities network” is part of the project underway to overhaul the 105-year-old landmark.
“Cultural tourism is a major tenet of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and the Sorrento understands the impact cultural tourism can make, both here and abroad,” Seattle City of Literature director Ryan Boudinot is quoted as saying in the announcement. “For those who love books and writing, in Seattle and beyond, this is going to be a destination unlike any other.”
CHS reported last fall on the “Pike/Pine-style” makeover for the Sorrento with a new management company, overhauls of The Hunt Room restaurant and Fireside Room lounge, and a new look for the hotel’s Madison-facing courtyard. You’ll also soon see a giant mural on the hotels parking garage.
TheSeattle City of Literature initiative seeks to include the city’s writers and literary history in the United Nations’ Creative Cities program. According to the announcement, Seattle City of Literature will organize readings, conferences, book clubs, festivals, and more at the hotel. The new meeting space is scheduled to open by spring.
In the meantime, a longtime favorite Sorrento event for lovers of literature won’t be taking place this month. January’s Silent Reading Partyhas been canceled, organizer and Stranger editor in chief Christopher Frizzelle announced, citing the work underway to update the Fireside Room. “I am sad to say they’re getting rid of that carpet. I love that carpet. I really wish they wouldn’t get rid of it,” he writes. “But seasons change, carpets change… Happily, the new management is not getting rid of the silent-reading party.”
Here’s a business model for thriving in the rich but competitive Pike/Pine food and drink economy: Earn loads of friendships in your 20 years of experience in the Capitol Hill restaurant business and then build a place where all those friends will want to hang out.
Good luck to you!
But Thomas Soukakos has it down.
“I’m all about my friends,” Soukakos tells CHS summing up his two decades of Seattle food and drink experience as he prepared to open his new Omega Ouzeri Thursday on 14th Ave. “My friends will come here.”
Omega, Soukakos says, is the food and drink experience he has always wanted to create. Starting with El Greco on Broadway in 1994 and creating his two Vios restaurants took Soukakos on a path that in many ways mirrored his life with family and a cautious, humble approach to the restaurant business.
“It doesn’t feel like microhousing at all!” — Guy in rendering
As CHS reported last fall, Seattle’s new microhousing rules left plenty of room for aPodment-style development on Capitol Hill. One of the biggest asks for microhousing critics was to subject the “efficiency unit” building type to the Seattle design review process. Critics — and the rest of us — can see theirdreams become reality at Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board.
Boylston Flats 1404 Boylston is familiar territory for the board. The seven-story “affordable” apartment building with 105 units averaging around 440 square feet a piece and slated to replace the 1905-built Emerald City Manor apartments took its first run through early design guidance back in November.
At that meeting, the board didn’t like what it saw and kicked the project back to microhousing developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson and architect S+H Works to sort out the issues for another EDG round. Continue reading →
SDOT director Scott Kubly (far right) meets with the City Council transportation committee.
City Council member Tom Rasmussen is not happy about delays with the First Hill Streetcar. While his office never responded to CHS as we broke the news last week that streetcar service won’t be started as late as the end of July, Rasmussen did have a lot of questions for the director of the Seattle Department of Transportation during a Tuesday council meeting.
When pressed about why the manufacturer Inkekon had still not shipped three streetcars from the Czech Republic, SDOT’s Scott Kubly said the delay was more about poor timeline setting. Inekon had to redesign several key components from their stock streetcar model and Kubly said the city had not anticipated the extra manufacturing time.
However, Kubly’s heavy handed response to the delay suggests he and SDOT are taking an even more serious response to the issues.
Kubly said he began holding daily phone calls with the CEO of Inekon last month and that he is planning a trip to the Czech Republic in February to inspect production and press the importance of delivering the cars as soon as possible.
“This is frustrating,” Rasmussen said during the meeting. “How do you know they’re just not putting you off and not making excuses, and if they really buckled down they could get this thing done sooner?” Continue reading →
Saturday night, some of the Inn’s remaining residents and other Summit Ave neighbors got together for a winter edition of the block’s annual music festival. Here are a few scenes from this weekend’s Slummit Block Party, LLC.
Meanwhile, the Summit Inn’s new owner Brad Padden‘s plan — “Substantial Alterations to an existing 40-unit apartment building. Renovate all units and decrease unit count to 35 small efficiency dwelling units” — is wending its way through the Department of Planning and Development.
See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.
Bar rip-off: A Capitol Hill bar was nailed for $1,500 earlier this month in a recurring scam Seattle City Light has been trying to warn customers about. Here’s how the ruse played out: “In retrospect it all falls apart (online billing records show no such balance, the phone number itself doesn’t show on Seattle City Lights website, etc) but it was so scary to imagine losing our ability to operate, staff losing hours, etc that we went into a blind panic,” the victim of the scam tells CHS. She said the timing of the call was unfortunately perfect with her fears about the prospect about being closed for a three-day weekend overwhelming her sense. She says the hope for nailing these bad guys is slim but that there’s a chance insurance can help them recoup the lost cash. Continue reading →
Work on the first phase of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway is underway creating new bike route markings, new stop signs and better pedestrian crossings along a route connecting 21st, 22nd, and 25th Ave from John to Jackson. You’ll note that SDOT is also adding “approximately” one speed hump per block on the route.
CHS included the work in our list of transit projects to look forward to in 2015. The “Hybrid” option for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly parallel to the 23rd Ave corridor will begin at I-90 and pass up through the Central District along 26th and 25th Ave before a jog over to 22nd north across E Madison to Capitol Hill. Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, the route will complement a $46 million overhaul of 23rd Ave. When complete, the 23rd Avenue greenway is likely to be the longest greenway in the city.
Seattle Bike Blog says the first phase of work is slated to be wrapped up later this winter. SBB also provides insights on some of the most important bike and pedestrian work still to come to make the greenway a reality.
If the plan doesn’t get mucked up for the northern end of the route, the area should connect nicely to Montlake’s bicycle and pedestrian resources included in the Seattle-side 520 replacement project.
Phase 1 runs between E. John Street and S. Jackson Street along 21st Avenue E, 22nd Avenue E, and 25th Avenue S. Installation elements include:
Bicycle pavement markings
Stop signs on all streets crossing the greenway
Flashing beacons for pedestrians and bicyclists at arterial crossings: 25th Avenue S and E Yesler Way; 25th Avenue S and E Cherry Street
Enhanced pedestrian traffic signal at 22nd Avenue E and E Union
Approximately one speed hump per block on the route
This work will necessitate some temporary on-street parking restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist detours, and some light construction noise. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained except when temporary restrictions are necessary. Normal work hours will be 9 AM to 4 PM. Installation is expected to be complete in late Winter 2015.
Ripple effects from a multi-national corporate acquisition are once again making an impact on Capitol Hill. This time, it’s not a local brewery takeover, but the closure of an office supply chain store.
CHS has learned that the Broadway OfficeMax will be closing its doors in late February, just one year after it opened in the mixed-use Lyric building. Around 400 other OfficeMax locations were slated to close last year as part of Office Depot’s 2013 takeover of the company.
UPDATE (1/28): An OfficeDepot corporate spokesperson said the Broadway store would close on February 21st.
An employee at the Broadway store told CHS that staff were notified of the closing a few weeks ago. Pillar Properties owns the Lyric apartments, but the company does not control the OfficeMax commercial space. A Pillar spokesperson said they’ve reached out to the individual who owns the space for more details on what may come next. We’ll update here if we hear anything.
The Broadway OfficeMax was one of six nationwide “vector” stores — a smaller-format concept meant to target urban neighborhoods. CHS broke the news of the company’s move on to Broadway in August 2013 and was there in January just before the store’s grand opening. At the time, store employees said the companies strategy was to offer a range of businesses services to the neighborhood’s independent shop owners. The Broadway location also includes around 90% of office supplies found in OfficeMax’s regular sized stores.
An OfficeMax corporate spokesperson did not return CHS’s request for comment on the Broadway closure.
It’s unclear what the future holds for the atypically large Broadway space that sits between Thomas and E Olive Way. With nearly one square mile more than 5,000 square feet of retail area, the space is small by box store standards but probably too large for many independent retailers. It’s possible the store could be divided in half with two separate entrances.
Seattle’s transition to a district-based City Council will mean an extremely busy 2015 campaign season. It will also mean shifts and changes in some of the old ways of getting things done. One framework in the city seemingly due for a shift is the East District Neighborhood Council.
“If it’s in campaign season you’ll ask [candidates] ‘hey can we get spotted unicorns’ and they’ll say ‘you bet we’ll get a boxcar full of them.’ If you can get outside of the election zone, it’s nice to have them come,” said Department of Neighborhoods district coordinator Tim Durkan, the city rep charged with organizing the East group. Durkan, we should note, is also a CHS contributor. But having candidates show up at this particular council’s meetings is one thing. Sorting out how existing community bodies fit into the new system is another.
Lindy Wishard, chair of the East group and a member of the Madison Valley Community Council & Merchants Association said that it will be important to connect at some point with the eventual District 3 rep.
“We have some very conservative neighborhoods and we have some very liberal neighborhoods and we have everything in between,” she said. “I think it’s important for whoever gets voted in to be aware of all areas of the district.” Continue reading →